Maria making a statement

MELBOURNE – Unseeded Maria Sharapova on Thursday showed she is a serious contender for the Australian Open by swatting aside a 14th seed who had given her major trouble in the past.

The Russian, back in the top 50 after a 15-month doping ban, demonstrated all the shot-making that made her a five-time major winner as she destroyed gritty Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6-1, 7-6(4) at Rod Laver Arena.

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