SERENA BOOKS SHARAPOVA SHOWDOWN

2016-1-25

MELBOURNE, Australia - Top seed Serena Williams dropped serve to start her fourth round encounter with rising Russian, Margarita Gasparyan, but only lost two more on Sunday, defeating the unseeded up and comer, 6-2, 6-1. Up next for the World No.1 and defending champion is a rematch of the 2015Australian Open final against No.5 seed Maria Sharapova.


"I played her in the first round of Wimbledon," Williams reminded Rennae Stubbs during her on-court interview when asked whether she'd played Gasparyan before.
The American has played nearly flawless tennis this week in Melbourne after a tight opening round against Camila Giorgi; she lost serve just once all day and hit 19 winners to 15 errors, and winning 75% of first serve points.
"I knew going in that she likes to go for a lot; she's really hungry and a good player who's really aggressive, so I knew that I had to play really strong today."
As Williams chases Steffi Graf's Grand Slam record of 22, she also played in front of Margaret Court on Sunday; Court won a total of 24.
"I feel honored to be able to play in front of her. Obviously, 24 is close but it's so far away; there are so many wonderful players, who are playing really tough and want to win some Slams too. I just focus on each game at a time.
"I never play thinking I want to be with the great Margaret Court. I just played wanting to win a Grand Slam and that's it. Here I am and I'm still playing just for me and nothing else."
On playing Sharapova, the notoriously tunnel-visioned Williams had yet to look ahead in the draw, but appeared ready for a tough encounter in the quarterfinals.
"I'll be ready. I had no idea I was playing her next! It'll be a good match. I have nothing to lose; we both are just doing the best that we can. We'll have fun."

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