Australian Open, Day 5: Maria Sharapova takes out Venus Williams

Shane Bacon
Busted Racquet

It's not often we get such a high profile match this early in a Grand Slam week, but that's what happens when Venus Williams' ranking drops to 25. The seven-time Slam winner hasn't made a quarterfinals in one of the big four events since the 2010 U.S. Open, but that doesn't stop Venus going up against Maria Sharapova from being a lot of fun in the first week in Melbourne.

Sharapova entered her third round match having not dropped a single game, and while this match looked exciting on paper, it was pretty one-sided in the Russian's favor. Sharapova won the opening set 6-1, followed that up with a second set win of 6-3 and the match lasted just 1 hour and 19 minutes.

If you're looking at possible favorites in the second week of the Australian Open in the women's side, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone hitting the ball as well as Sharapova is right now. Sure, she had just 17 winners in the two-set win over Venus, but she sure seems to be seeing the ball incredibly well early on in this major and if she keeps pounding it from the baseline like this it would be surprising not to see her in her second straight Australian Open final.

American men are done in Australia -- With John Isner pulling out of the Aussie Open before it kicked off, it didn't seem likely that we'd see a lot of red, white and blue into the late rounds of this Grand Slam. The best hope seemed to be Sam Querrey, who was looking to make it past the third round for the first time in his career in Melbourne.

That didn't happen, as Querrey met up against Stanislas Wawrinka and after dropping the opening set tiebreaker 7-6 (8-6), lost in straight sets to the 15th ranked player in the field.

The loss by Querrey means there are no American men left in the Australian Open with still half the third round yet to be played, a disappointing but not surprising fact in 2013.

Radek Stepanek keeps the Djokovic win interesting -- The fact is that Novak Djokovic won his third round match against Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-3, 7-5. What the scores don't tell you is how much fun it was watching Stepanek run down lobs and drop shots by Novak all evening, getting the crowd involved during his inevitable defeat.

You can tell the two enjoy playing against each other, and even as Djokovic was serving for the match, Stepanek hit an incredible over-the-shoulder shot that forced Novak to hit a soft volley that turned into a point won by Radek and him giving the crowd one more finger point and run around the court.

After the match the two smiled and hugged at the net and while the two-time defending champion moved on easily, it wasn't without a little fun for the fans.

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