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Magic Maria bags another 'bagel'

MARIA SHARAPOVA has put a small fortune into her sweet-making business but she might consider a sideline in baked treats after serving up fellow Russian Olga Puchkova a double-bagel to cruise into the second round of the Australian Open on Monday.

Sharapova's 6-0 6-0 demolition of the hapless Puchkova at the Rod Laver Arena completed a 'bagel slam', having left opponents scoreless at the French Open, Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows.

The second seeded Russian launched her premium-priced range of "Sugarpova" lollies in Melbourne on Friday, bringing her fledgling business Down Under after successfully intro-ducing it to the United States.


But there was precious little sweetness on display on centre court as Sharapova crushed the 107th-ranked Puchkova in 55 minutes to stay on track for a mouth-watering third round clash with Venus Williams.

"I didn't want to focus on the fact I hadn't played a lot of matches," Sharapova, the 2008 champion, said. "(I) just wanted to focus on just what was ahead of me and really concentrate and, you know, be aggressive.

"So it was just one of those matches where I didn't try to worry about her too much. I just tried to, you know, think about what I had to do."

Sharapova had pulled out of all of her warm-up tournaments after suffering pain in her neck and collarbone, but showed little discomfort as she blasted six aces and 18 winners in bright morning sunshine.