Tramlines

The record that Sharapova did not want to break

It came as an unwelcome statistic for Maria Sharapova as she brushed aside another opponent with consummate ease to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open in record-breaking fashion.

The Russian has dropped just nine games on her way to the semis - three less than Monica Seles' 12 back in 1991 - but she was not happy about breaking the record, with a lack of game time ahead of her last-four clash with Li Na.

"To be honest, those are not the statistics you want to be known for," Sharapova said dismissively when interviewed about the record courtside after her win over Ekaterina Makarova.

By keeping her compatriot on court for 66 minutes, Makarova upped her match time average by a whole minute from 62 minutes after the fourth round.

Remarkably, Sharapova has earned $500,000 for reaching the last four and spent just 315 minutes on court in the process.

To put it simply, the 25-year-old, who now lives in the USA, is earning at the rate of $1,587.30 a minute.

Oh, and prize money is, of course, only a fraction of a professional tennis player's earnings in the modern game.

The Chinese player Li Na may keep the world number two on court a little longer in their semi-final, but it is perhaps unlikely given the Russian's form.

According to Forbes, Sharapova has an estimated net worth of $90 million, having earned a staggering $26m in 2012 alone.

Indeed, the tennis player's brand Sugarpova - 'a premium line of gummy candies and assorted sweets' - looks set to dramatically augment that figure for the coming year.

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When not being quizzed about her lack of time spent on court, Sharapova was busy explaining why her superstitions with her food have had a noticeable effect on performances.

She believes that eating the same dishes at the same restaurants aids her results on court, and insists that it has an influence on her general happiness.

"It's all experience," she said about her food choices.

"I go through routines that work for me, I go with the flow of routines. I go to the same restaurants where I am familiar with the food. Maybe all of us have a little bit of that in us."

The proprietors who have benefited from the visits of Sharapova to their restaurants over the last two weeks will be extremely happy that she has enjoyed such an easy run in Melbourne. It's very good for business.

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Is this the worst serve ever?

Li Na inexplicably sends a serve skywards in her Australian Open match against Agnieszka Radwanska.

Tramlines will not attempt in vain to explain the serve - just have a look for yourself...