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Russian tennis chief: Sharapova may easily reach 4th round of 2019 Australian Open

In 2018 Sharapova participated in 11 tennis tournaments, including four Grand Slam competitions

MOSCOW, January 11. /TASS, Andrey Kartashov/. Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova is capable of battling through to the 4th round of the 2019 Australian Open, which kicks off next week, President of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) Shamil Tarpishchev told TASS on Friday.

The qualifiers of the 2019 Australian Open, which boasts $44.5 million in prize money up for grabs and runs from January 14 to 27, have been completed in Melbourne on Friday.

Based on the results of the qualifiers, Russia’s Sharapova (seeded 30) received Harriet Dart of the United Kingdom as her opponent.

"Sharapova is in a normal pool [of opponents] and although she may possibly face in the 3rd round Caroline Wozniacki [the 2018 Australian Open champion], she can easily handle her," Tarpishchev said in an interview with TASS. "Sharapova is capable of easily reaching the 4th round if everything is all right with the first serve. She needs to serve at 70% and maintain the serve as well as to play without setbacks."

"Twelve players in women’s singles competition of the tournament are vying for the victory," he said. "They are all in fever to win and it is impossible to predict who would be the champion."

Sharapova is Russia’s most decorated tennis player having won a total of five Grand Slam tournaments, namely the Australian Open in 2008, the French Open in 2012 and 2014, Wimbledon in 2004 and the US Open in 2006. She also clinched the silver in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and was the 2008 Federations Cup champion.

In 2018 Sharapova participated in 11 tennis tournaments, including four Grand Slam competitions. Her best results last season were the semifinals of the tournaments in China’s Shenzhen and Italy’s Rome.

Playing at the Grand Slam tournaments last year Sharapova reached the third round of the Australian Open, the quarterfinals of the Roland-Garros in France, was knocked out in the opening round at the Wimbledon and reached the fourth round stage of the US Open.