Maria Sharapova: Australian Open Outlook After Dominating Venus Williams

Mike HoagCorrespondent IIJanuary 18, 2013

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 18:  Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates winning her third round match against Venus Williams of the United States during day five of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 18, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Is Maria Sharapova eyeing revenge for her 2012 Australian Open final loss to Victoria Azarenka?

She surely sent a message to the power structure of the women’s singles bracket with a dominant win over Venus Williams in the second round of the 2013 Australian Open.

The two Grand Slam winners dueled it out in a third-round matchup in Melbourne. It was Sharapova, though, who got the better of her highly touted opponent to advance to the round of 16.

She did it in convincing fashion, too.

The second-seeded Sharapova crushed the 25th-seeded Williams in a 6-1, 6-3 straight-sets victory.

Williams fared better than Sharapova’s first opponents, who failed to win even one game during her two opening-round matchups.

The competition is going to stiffen, but with the tear the Russian star is on right now, it may not matter.

After the matchup and one-sided victory, Sharapova lost it a little bit with excitement.

Chris Chase of USA Today pointed out that she may have equated beating Venus with getting the better of her sister, Serena.

Her conduct following the win was “unbecoming of a champ,” Jon Scott of said, according to Chase.

Sure, the match was never really in question, but Sharapova won in dominant fashion and is clearly making a strong push for the trophy after losing last year’s final.

"I was just really pumped. Why shouldn't I be?" she said, according to ESPN’s Bonnie D. Ford.

She wants it badly, and that’s apparent in her play and in her passion on the court.

So, then, what should we expect from her latest quest for a Grand Slam victory?

To add another slam to her resume, she will need to overcome either Serena Williams or Azarenka in the final, assuming she gets there.

The 25-year-old has four Grand Slam wins already and could take a huge step toward solidifying her legacy with a Grand Slam win or two in 2013. A win here also wouldn’t hurt her in her quest to move up to No. 1 in the WTA rankings.

She’s currently No. 2, behind Azarenka.

That ranking was clearly put there for a reason.

"She's seeing the ball well, she's moving well, she's playing within herself, she's not overplaying. I think it's all coming together for her to have a really good run,” ESPN’s Joe Fernandez said, according to Ford.

If she keeps it up, she will definitely reach the finals for a second consecutive year and probably come out on top.

It's a matter of will to win, and Sharapova has that in spades—plus, some talent to go along with it.