Peng Shuai has skipped into the second round of Australian Open 2013 with a decisive victory over Canada’s Rebecca Marino.
The Chinese No.2, the world’s 32nd-ranked player, romped to a 6-3 6-0 victory in just 52 minutes on Court 8, playing at a different level than her opponent and announcing herself as a dangerous unseeded floater in the women’s draw at Melbourne Park.
One service break was all she needed to quickly move ahead 4-1 in the opening set, a buffer she maintained for the remainder of the set.
Marino did show flashes of her potential throughout the first stanza, with her big serve and heavy groundstrokes occasionally finding their mark and reminding fans why she was once ranked as high as world No.38 in 2011.
But the 22-year-old, ranked No.426 – entered the Australian Open on a protected ranking following seven months of inactivity in 2012 – was in no way as match tough or battle hardened as her Chinese opponent.
“I never play her before. I know she gets a big serve. Before the match, my coach just tell me … have to be ready for her serve,” Peng said.
“But it's good. It's really happy, exciting, you know, to play the first round. Just really happy today I'm winning.”
While Peng scampered around the court, fit as ever, relentlessly firing her powerful, flat groundstrokes into the corners for winners, Marino looked flat, leaden-footed, and, at times, disinterested.
Once Peng held to love to pocket the first set, Marino’s resistance crumbled.
The Chinese player broke serve immediately in the second set and skipped out to a 5-0 in just 19 minutes, her place in the second round looking assured.
Only when serving for the match was there a minor wobble, in which Peng dropped one of her two match points on a double fault. But she remained true to her aggressive style, and continued to create chances for herself.
On her fourth match point, she sealed the win following a Marino error, the Canadian’s 22nd of the day.
Peng is a former world No.14 and reached the fourth round at Melbourne Park in 2011, coming within a whisker of defeating Agnieszka Radwanska to break through for her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
She’ll be looking to scale those heights again, motivation that she take into her next match against No.14 seed Maria Kirilenko.
“I like here. I remember in 2011 (in) the fourth round I play Radwanska. I have two match point to the quarters, but I didn't make that. So I really remember that,” she said.
“The next round I know my opponent will be Kirilenko. I play her last year in Wimbledon, and I lost her (in) three set. So this time I will try my best, yes.”