MELBOURNE Jan 14 Venus Williams took the first step towards a potential third round clash with Maria Sharapova with a 6-1 6-0 thrashing of Kazakhstan's Galina Voskoboeva at the Australian Open on Monday.
The 32-year-old Williams, who won her first tournament in almost three years in Luxembourg last October after battling injuries and illness, was simply too powerful for the 28-year-old, who had problems with her serve the entire match.
The Kazakh often lost the ball in the sun during her toss, while on several occasions it drifted the wrong side of the service line. Even then there was little pace on the ball, allowing Williams to step in and blast back forehand winners.
Williams will now meet either France's Alize Cornet or New Zealand's Marina Erakovic in the second round, with a mouth-watering clash against world number two Sharapova in her sights after the Russian beat Olga Puchkova 6-0 6-0.
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford)