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Friday, January 20, 2006

Maria Sharapova continues to lead the Russian charge in Melbourne after she crushed Jelena Kostanic in straight sets. The fourth seed set the tone for the contest by breaking the Croatian's serve in the second game as she raced to a 6-0 6-1 win.

Maria Sharapova

The match lasted just 68 minutes as Kostanic won just one game on her own serve, although Maria insisted afterwards that the victory was not as easy as the score suggests.

"I wouldn't say that was really easy, mentally it was pretty tough when you know you've got a very patient opponent and you know that it's really hot out there," she said. "I mean, you've got to be really tough, and the score doesn't really explain the match."

Maria also admitted that the conditions in Melbourne are tough on the players as they battle against soaring temperatures during the day. "When it's that hot, just mentally you've got to be so tough," the reigning US Open champion said. "I know it's very physical out there, but if you just keep positive, I'm ready for the challenge,
that's why I'm here."



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