Tennis: Kuznetsova bows out of Australian Open but Sharapova marches on

Svetlana Kuznetsova lost to Kateryna Bondarenko 6-1, 7-5 at the Australian Open.
Svetlana Kuznetsova lost to Kateryna Bondarenko 6-1, 7-5 at the Australian Open.PHOTO: EPA

MELBOURNE (REUTERS/AFP)- Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova was dumped out of the Australian Open by former doubles winner Kateryna Bondarenko 6-1, 7-5 at the Hisense Arena on Wednesday.

Kuznetsova, seeded 23rd, came back from 3-5 down in a fiercely contested second set but Ukrainian Bondarenko held firm and sealed the win on the second match point.

Fifth seed and last year's runner-up Maria Sharapova cruised into the third round with a 6-2, 6-1 rout of unseeded Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the opening match at Rod Laver Arena.

Sealing match point with a booming first serve, the 2008 champion next faces the winner of Lauren Davis and Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova.

The win keeps her on track for a potential last-eight clash against her nemesis Serena Williams, who beat her in the final last year and has won every match they have played since 2004. Williams is on court later on Wednesday.

"It's great to be back on this court after such a good run (to the final) last year," said Sharapova. "It was an opponent I had never faced before which is always tricky and I'm happy I got there."