Angelique Kerber edges out Sharapova, advances to Australian Open 4th round


Elsewhere in the third round, top-seeded Simona Halep plays American Lauren Davis. The World No 1 survived to fight another day.

The pair met again in Sharapova's next event in Beijing, with the five-time major champion taking the honours on that occasion in a match decided by a third-set tiebreak.

As it is, since coming back halfway through Stuttgart's Porsche Grand Prix in April - hardly endearing herself to other players - she has missed Wimbledon, made the last-16 of the US Open and now the third round here.

Sharapova improved as the match progressed but Kerber was clinical when break-point opportunities came her way, with both chances being taken in the second to wrap up victory in just 64 minutes. "I was really trying to not think about everything around, about against who I'm playing".

Kerber continued her march towards a second Australian Open crown with a clinical third-round victory over five-time grand slam victor Maria Sharapova.

"I have so many great memories from this court (Rod Laver Arena)", Kerber, the 2016 Australian Open champion, said.

Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, the 8th seed, defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

Dark horse David Goffin's Australian Open hopes went up in smoke as he fell to a 1-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 7- 6 (7-4) to French veteran Julien Benneteau while Juan Martin del Potro fired 60 winners on his way to a 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (0-7) 6-4 victory over young Russian Karen Khachanov.

Six-time Australian Open champion Djokovic continued his comeback from six months out with an injured right elbow, beating No. 21 Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2, 6-3, 6-3.

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"I could have done things better", she said, "but at the end, she deserves to win".

Former world No.1s and ex-Australian Open champions Maria Sharapova of Russian Federation and Angelique Kerber of Germany on Thursday eased past Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova and Croatia's Donna Vekic respectively to set up an intriguing match in the third round of the Australian Open. "I've always wanted to play against an Australian player, because on TV it always seems really cool".

"Yeah, absolutely, why not?"

Federer explained that the heaviness of the racquets and his struggles with the single-handed backhand throughout his career are the reasons he prefers them to have the "simple" double-handed backhands.

Another veteran and Federer foe was also out to impress.

Andy Murray is certainly missing the Australian Open. The former No.1 turned back time in Melbourne. "I got it for free".

-Novak Djokovic when asked if he'd endorse Barilla, a Pasta brand, like Roger Federer.

"I look forward to these matches".

-South Korean Hyeon Chung, after his latest Chinese dinner, knocked Alexander Zverev out in five sets.

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