Kerber knocks out Sharapova

Kerber knocks out Sharapova

Sharapova, who missed last year's Australian Open while serving a 15-month ban for a failed doping test, was happy to beat the player who'd ended her run at the U.S. Open last year.

On Rod Laver arena, it was world No1 Simona Halep, eager to keep her hands on that top spot, and she would fight like a terrier to do so against Lauren Davis, one of the few women significantly shorter than the 5ft6in Halep.

But she finally got over the line 4-6, 6-4, 15-13 in a gruelling 3hr 44min epic in a contest that took its toll. "I knew it would be tough, Maria is a champion, and I just tried to play my game".

"It's never easy to be on the losing end of things, be sitting in a press conference talking about a loss", Sharapova said.

Still Halep's duties were not done: It is the practice at the Australian Open for winners to perform and on-court interview, even though she pronounced herself "almost dead" with her effort.

"I don't know how my ankle is because I can't feel it any more".

She added: "I look forward to these matches".

The match was a clash between the only two former champions in the draw and Kerber is looking ominously like the player who won her maiden slam in Melbourne two years ago before going on to win Wimbledon and finish 2016 as world number one.

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"I have some figuring out to do, what happens to me in deciding moments in grand slams", he said.

No doubt, Kerber's played well this year, but a closer examination of her service data shows that she's saved 10.1% more break points than she should have done, based on her service points won expectation.

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.

Flying under the radar, the 17th seed has surrendered just 16 games on her way to the fourth round after beating Romania's Ana Bogdan 6-3, 6-4.

Defending champion Roger Federer will continue his quest for a 20th Grand Slam singles title and his sixth at Melbourne Park when he plays Richard Gasquet. She has won 12 straight matches to start the season: four of them unofficial at the Hopman Cup team event and eight of them on tour.

Her speed of foot and ability to return Sharapova's pace with interest left the Russian struggling from the outset.

Women's Third Round: No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki beat Kiki Bertens 6-4, 6-3; No. 4 Elina Svitolina beat Marta Kostyuk 6-2, 6-2; No. 19 Magdalena Rybarikova beat Kateryna Bondarenko 7-5, 3-6, 6-1; No. 32 Anett Kontaveit beat No. 7 Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 1-6, 6-3. "But looking at the overall picture, the overall beginning of this year, finishing the tournament, first thing is that I'm healthy".