Clinical Kerber defeats Sharapova at Open

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

Maria Sharapova was handed an Australian Open hiding by Angelique Kerber in the third-round battle of the former champions.

The big match Saturday had the only two women's major champions left in the tournament playing each other - 2008 Australian victor Maria Sharapova vs. 2016 Melbourne Park champion Angelique Kerber.

She needed just 64 minutes to see off Sharapova, breaking serve five times.

Having already won the Sydney International in the build-up to the first grand slam of the season, 30-year-old Kerber has started the year in great form and is odds-on to beat Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei and advance to the quarterfinals.

"I'm just so happy it's 2018 and not 2017 anymore", said Kerber, seeded No. 21 after a disastrous 2017 campaign.

"To be able to get these matches, against 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 never played the third set so long, so I'm really happy I could stay and win it".

The Romanian, 26, had to save three match points in the decider before eventually winning 4-6 6-4 15-13 after three hours and 45 minutes.

But it was Kerber's day and she looks the player to beat in the WTA field.

Sharapova's unforced errors spelled her doom once more as Kerber raced off to the win and advanced to the Round of 16.

"I think I'm just very well aware that I think in this world everyone has an opinion and that no matter what you do, or no matter how you play tennis, or what you say, or how you go about your life, not everyone will like the way that you do it", she said.

Halep served for the match at 5-4, 6-5 and 8-7 in the third set but was denied and later recovered from 0-40 on her own serve with the score 11-10 to the impressive world number 76 Davis. "This is unbelievable for me to be back in the fourth round after 10 years".

"Both deserved to win that match", 18-time Grand Slam singles champion Evert said.

Kerber lost her way badly after a stellar 2016 brought Grand Slam titles in Melbourne and NY.

"There's a lot of things I need to improve on".

In the other later matches on the schedule, I expect the qualifier Bernarda Pera's dream run to come to an end at the hands of Barbora Strycova, while Ash Barty is a solid favourite to get past Naomi Osaka, in another clash of big-servers.

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.

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