Tennis: Heather Watson remained upbeat despite another grand slam defeat at the hands of Agnieszka Radwanska today.
The British number one exited the Australian Open at the hands of the fourth seed, but said her improved showing against the Pole was further demonstration of her development.
The 20-year-old was beaten 6-3 6-1 on Hisense Arena, but the scoreline did not reflect the closeness of the last-32 encounter, particularly in the first set.
It was a far better performance from Watson than the rudderless 6-0 6-2 thrashing she received from the same opponent in the third-round stage at Wimbledon last year.
“I felt like I did a lot better this time and the score doesn’t really show how I felt out there,” she said. “I felt like I was in it and it was a lot closer.
“Last time I didn’t really know what I was going to do, but this time I had a gameplan. Next time I am going to have to learn to take my opportunities better and get better at staying mentally tough and focused throughout the entire match.”
Radwanska advanced to a fourth-round clash with Ana Ivanovic, the winner of the all-Serbian tussle with Jelena Jankovic.
Elsewhere second seed Maria Sharapova hammered Venus Williams in the first major clash of the competition.
The Russian swept aside her US opponent 6-1 6-3 in only 76 minutes and has still lost just four games in three rounds.
“I was a really determined player out there because I knew the tennis that she’s capable of producing and playing,” said Sharapova, who faces Belgian Kirsten Flipkens in the last 16.
“Since the draw came out, I was really looking forward to that match-up.”
In the men’s singles, defending champion Novak Djokovic beat Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 6-4 6-3 7-5.
“It was a great match, great fun,” said Djokovic. “He is a very talented player, very skilful. He made a lot of great first volleys and made me play the extra ball.”
Djokovic will next face Swiss 15th seed Stanislas Wawrinka, who defeated Sam Querrey of the United States in straight sets.