Maria Sharapova: 'I'm not starting from zero'

Joann Johnston
January 22, 2018

Wozniacki won the next nine points, and 24 of the 31 points played from when she first faced match point. But Kerber lost her first against Davis, 6-4, in what would become one of the thrillers of the tournament.

Keys is the only one of the four American women who reached the semifinals at the U.S. Open last September still in contention in Melbourne - Stephens, Venus Williams and CoCo Vandeweghe were all eliminated in the first round.

Defending champion Federer has now reached the fourth round for the 16th time in 19 trips to Melbourne Park.

Sharapova won here in Australia in 2008, capping a string of three Grand Slam championships in a five-year period.

"It was a straight-sets win but nearly two-and-a-half hours so it wasn't that easy or comfortable on the court", he said.

Six-time champion Novak Djokovic showed iron-man stamina as he battled hothouse conditions to overcome tired Frenchman Gael Monfils 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.

In a match that lasted just over two hours, Federer, 36, set up a last-16 clash with Hungary's Marton Fucsovics - a 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 victor over Argentina's Nicolas Kicker earlier in the day. To be able to get these matches, players that are playing this well, I'm going to face a lot of them this year.

"They should put this in the washing machine and start again", Channel Seven commentator Jim Courier, twice an Australian Open champion, said on air about the scrappy nature of the opening exchanges.

She has been contending with a sore ankle, and quite what shape she will be in to face the quirky Japanese-American Naomi Osaka in the fourth round is anyone's guess.

That left only Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber - who will meet in the next round - and French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko as Grand Slam winners in the women's draw.

There is no doubt that all eyes will be on the Kerber-Sharapova match this weekend.

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Sharapova wanted to see how her level compared to the top players and in the first set the answer was not very well at all.

Alarm bells were ringing for Kerber when Sharapova rifled away a backhand victor to earn a break point at 3-3 but the Russian missed a regulation forehand to waste the chance.

When Kerber moved 2-0 ahead in the second set, it seemed the match that had been billed as a potential classic would turn into an embarrassing rout.

In the last night match, Hsieh Su-wei followed up her win over Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza by beating No. 26 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 7-5 to return to the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the first time in a decade. Chung advanced when Mischa retired with a viral illness while trailing 6-2, 4-1.

Angelique Kerber is on her own in an elite club at the Australian Open.

With a forecast high of 39 Celsius (102 Fahrenheit), Sharapova appeared to be in a hurry to get off the Rod Laver Arena court, winning the first set in 23 minutes.

The 14th seeded Serb will play Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the third round.

It took Fabio Fognini almost eight years, but he's finally avenged a fourth-round loss to Julien Benneteau at Wimbledon.

Their 2010 match at the All-England Club was their only previous meeting.

Federer has unheralded Hungarian and one-time training partner Marton Fucsovics up next and a potential quarter-final with Tomas Berdych, who upset Juan Martin Del Porto in straight sets earlier Saturday. Chung beat fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev 5-7, 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 six days after a win over No. 32 Mischa Zverev in the first round.

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