Angelique Kerber smashes Maria Sharapova to make fourth round
- Author: Delores Daniels Jan 21, 2018,
Jan 21, 2018, 0:10
"It will be another tough match", said Kerber.
Sharapova was back at the Australian Open for the first time since 2016, when a failed doping test led to a 15-month ban from tennis. It's a lot of things that take time.
The Rod Laver Arena evening clash between the only two Grand Slam winners left in the women's draw had the feel of a showpiece final rather than a third-round clash but it was Kerber who rose to the occasion. Kerber needed 70 minutes to end Vekic's best run in Melbourne 6-4, 6-1. Along the way, he has won five of his 19 Grand Slam singles titles.
Kerber, who won at Melbourne Park in 2016, won 86% of points on her first serve while Sharapova could only manage 37%.
Kerber's fitness, and ability to chase down virtually every ball, has never been in doubt, but now she is once again playing with bags of aggression.
The match was originally scheduled for Rod Laver Arena, but was moved to Margaret Court Arena due to a backlog of long matches at the larger venue.
-World No 1 Simona Halep after a three-hour-44 minute battle against USA's Lauren Davis.
Men's seeds eliminated included No. 7 David Goffin and No. 13 Sam Querrey, who was beaten 6-4, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-2 by 80th-ranked Marton Fucsovics.
-Alexander "Sascha" Zverev says he's lost the crucial moments in his last three Grand Slams defeats. He maintained his ideal record against Mannarino, beating the Frenchman for the seventh consecutive time.
Kerber's next match is against Hsieh Su-wei, who followed up her win over Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza with a 6-2, 7-5 win against No. 26 Agnieszka Radwanska to return to the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the first time in a decade.
Osaka, the mild-mannered Japanese up-and-comer delivered 12 aces in a ferocious display that must surely have given her next opponent, world number one Simona Halep, reason to take a very deep breath.
Djokovic goes forward to a third-round meeting with 21st seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas after the Spaniard defeated Tim Smyczek from America 6-4 6-2 7-6 (7-2). Garcia will play Madison Keys in the fourth round. Prior to the major tournament, she also reached the semifinals at the Shenzhen Open.
Keys will next play the victor of Saturday's later match between Aliaksandra Sasnovich and eighth-seeded Caroline Garcia.