Venus books Open date with Sharapova

Thursday, 17 January 2013 00:35 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Venus Williams set up a glamour Australian Open third round showdown with in-form fellow former world No.1 Maria Sharapova by outclassing Frenchwoman Alize Cornet at Melbourne Park on Wednesday night.

The statuesque American beat Cornet 6-3 6-3 to book a date on Friday with the Russian second seed.

The pair have 11 grand slam singles trophies between them, Williams seven and Sharapova four, including the 2008 Australian Open title.

Sharapova’s form over the first two rounds has been faultless, not dropping a game in either of her matches.

Williams, the 25th seed, wasn’t quite as convincing against Cornet.

She lost the first two games of the match and went down a break of serve early in the second set.

But both times she responded well and showed she still packs an enormous punch at her best, winning six of the last seven games of the first set and the last four of the match.

Asked about her prospects against Sharapova, Williams said: “I better bring my best game against her.”

Sharapova holds a 4-3 head-to-head career advantage but the American has won their only two grand slam meetings in straight sets, at Wimbledon in 2005 and 2007, going on to win the championship both times.

Sharapova said the illustrious records of herself and Williams wouldn’t mean much when they took to the court.

“I hope for it to be a great match. You certainly know what she’s capable of,” Sharapova said.