Tennis: Kerber sets up Sharapova clash of the champions

Tennis: Kerber sets up Sharapova clash of the champions

“You know, it was a warm day.

World number one Simona Halep was also convincing in her straight demolition of Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.

On paper, Davis's meeting with Halep was a mountain to climb.

It was unlikely that, somewhere back in Florida, Serena Williams was shedding a tear as Maria Sharapova was resoundingly sent packing from the Australian Open.

For over a century, the best tennis players in the world - followed by the most dedicated of fans -have descended upon Melbourne every summer to compete in one of the toughest and most gruelling major events of the tennis calendar.

Wawrinka, who had six months out after surgery on his left knee, beat Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (2).

In a titanic struggle lasting three hours and 44 minutes, the Romanian survived three match points and served for the match four times herself while her American opponent battled on despite losing a toenail.

But, after leaving the court for a bathroom break, he returned to play the third set. And then there have been the actual upsets, wrecking balls that have been leaving gaping holes in the draw.

The 31-year-old Ukrainian has only been to the fourth round of a Grand Slam once before, and that was her quarterfinal run at the US Open back in 2009.

Monfils saved two more match points, the second with a superb crosscourt forehand, but Djokovic converted at the fourth attempt with a simple volley.

Fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev, No. 5 Dominic Thiem, No. 7 David Goffin, No. 12 Juan Martin del Potro and No. 19 Tomas Berdych all advanced, but No. 20 Roberto Bautista Agut lost to Fernando Verdasco and former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic lost to Lukas Lacko.

Keys will next play eighth-seeded Caroline Garcia. That's no longer the case. She won her seventh match of the season, taking down Donna Vekic on Thursday.

"It's hard to pick against Federer and I think that's what so exciting right now about men's and women's tennis".

"I love being in the city". American Madison Keys also reached the upcoming round after getting rid of Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-0, 6-1 in just 41 minutes.

Maria Sharapova was always going to be a dangerous unseeded floater, and it was Kerber, down at 21 after a tough, confidence-sapping 2017, who drew the short straw.

But Sharapova was able to take positives from the year's first grand slam, having avoided a recurrence of the fitness concerns that dogged her return from suspension last year. "But looking at the overall picture, the overall beginning of this year, finishing the tournament, the first thing is that I'm healthy". And she had barely broken sweat, it seemed, to reach the third round.

ESPN commentator Chris Fowler reported Djokovic requested to play during the day, an odd call considering the six-time Australian Open champion hadn't played professional competition for nearly six months, and a claim Djokovic denied. "It's more business than a sport". Dropping her third round match to Anett Kontaveit, she does at least tie her best career performance so far at the major tournament. The Russian simply could not find the consistency to match Kerber's excellence and the 21st seed did not falter, raising her arms in the air with glee after Sharapova pulled a backhand well wide, her 26th unforced error.

"I'm looking forward to the thirties".

"I just knew before the match it would be a tough one, Maria is a champion and played really good the last few weeks", she said on court. "I'm probably past my prime to play a player unless I'm some 50-year-old guy trying to make the circuit again", he joked. I was really happy we have 2018 and not 2017.

The defending champion looked almost untroubled in a straight-sets 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win on Rod Laver Arena.

But the form she showed in beating 14th seeded Latvian Anastasija Sevastova deserted her.

Djokovic has remodelled his service action with the help of coaches Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek, shortening the back swing in a bid to protect the elbow, and it held up very well.

BC-TEN-Australian Open, 13th Ld-Writethru, 893Last Slam standing: Kerber beats Sharapova in 3rd roundAP Photo MEL443, MEL456, MEL538, MEL232, MEL518, MEL209, MEL126, MEL384, MEL378, MEL318Eds: Updates to recap.

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