Australian Open: Superb Angelique Kerber glides past Maria Sharapova

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.

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.

Kerber's match against five-times grand slam champion Sharapova will be a duel of thirty-something players, and the German said she took heart from the longevity of tour veterans like Serena Williams and Roger Federer. Hsieh Su-Wei awaits in the fourth round.

A woeful 2017 saw former world number one Kerber drop out of the top 20, and after a solid start to the season this year which sees her unbeaten, the markets are immediately pricing her up as a top five player again.

"To be able to get these matches, players that are playing this well, I'm going to face a lot of them this year".

Kontaveit came into the event with a poor hard court record but hasn't faced a considerably better opponent as yet, and her fourth round match against Carla Suarez Navarro on Sunday gives her a further opportunity to progress before a likely quarter-final with one of our outright hopes, Wozniacki.

"I've always wanted to play against an Australian player because on TV it always seems really cool!"

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Angelique Kerber of Germany celebrates winning against Maria Sharapova of Russian Federation. In another match World No.1 and top seed Simona Halep just managed to live another day as she saved three match points and overcame throbbing ankle pain to edge out Lauren Davis 4-6, 6-4, 15-13.

"There's a lot of things I need to improve on". "I knew I wanted to use the medical timeout because I needed it, but at the same time, I knew it was nothing major that can potentially raise the question mark on whether I can continue playing". “I think I deserve to smile out there after that victory.”.

And it won't have escaped Kerber's attention that she is the last remaining Grand Slam champion in the women's draw. The second set was much more comfortable as she held serve and took the two chances to break she presented to seal the win. I just kept believing that it's not over, even if she's leading a little bit more. "It was nice to win this match". I will have to play my best tennis.

"She happens to be the next one that I have to play".

In other women's third-round matches, sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova beat Lucie Safarova 7-6 (6), 7-5 and No. 8 Caroline Garcia beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

Madison Keys is through to the fourth round of the Australian Open after starting Saturday's program on Margaret Court Arena with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Ana Bogdan.

  • Regina Holmes