March 22, 2018

Australian Open: Angelique Kerber beats Maria Sharapova in straight sets

21 January 2018, 12:16 | Leigh Flowers

Overnight: Temperature soars, Johanna Konta falls, Maria Sharapova v Angelique Kerber confirmed

Sharapova-Kerber Highlights 3rd Round Matchups, Muguruza, Konta out

Maria Sharapova is relishing the chance to take on Angelique Kerber in the third round of the Australian Open.

Maria Sharapova will take centre stage on Rod Laver Arena against Angelique Kerber in what is shaping as a fascinating encounter between the only two former Australian Open winners left in the women's draw.

Maria Sharapova, the 2008 Australian Open victor, hurried through the first set on Rod Laver Arena in 23 minutes before beating No. 14-seeded Anastasija Sevastova 6-1, 7-6 (4).

Photo Sharapova, a former No. 1, is closing in on a top-40 ranking, but she has not gone past the fourth round in the two majors she has played since returning last season from a 15-month suspension for an antidoping violation.

Sharapova struggled on serve during the match, winning just 38 and 47 percent of the first and second delivery points, respectively, which opened the door for Kerber to break her serve five times.

Kerber was right back in the groove which had brought her an unbeaten start to the year and fuelled talk that she had regained the form which had taken her to this title in 2016 and world No 1.

Australia's hope of seeing a homegrown Grand Slam champion now rests exclusively on the temperamental shoulders of Nick Kyrgios after women's contender Ashleigh Barty was sent packing by Naomi Osaka. She's always risky, especially at the Grand Slams.

"I look forward to these matches".

The only game 2008 Aussie Open champion Sharapova won came after she had saved another break point with a dead netcord.

"I just have to accept it, embrace it, obviously hope for a better day next match". "I think I deserve to smile out there after that victory". Along the way, he has won five of his 19 Grand Slam singles titles.

After such a dominant first set, it seemed that Kerber could completely run away with the match as she broke early on for a 2-0 lead in the second set. My ankle is, I don't know how it is because I don't feel it anymore, but it was nice to be on court. No. 20 Barbora Strycova beat U.S. qualifier Bernarda Pera 6-2, 6-2, leaving U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys as the only American woman to reach the fourth round.

Another loss at a major had the highly-touted Zverev admitting he may have a problem.

Sixth seed Karolina Pliskova remained on course for a semifinal clash with Halep as she beat fellow Czech Fed Cup teammate Lucie Safarova 7-6 (7-6), 7-5 to move into the fourth round.

Tomas Berdych ended 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro's return to Melbourne Park for the first time since 2014 with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 win. The 2016 victor from Germany and 21st seed roared past the unseeded Russian 2008 champion 6-1, 6-3 in 64 minutes to reach the last 16.

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