Australian Open: A lookahead to Saturday, recap of Friday

Posted January 21, 2018

The German tennis star defeats former tournament champion Maria Sharapova in the third round.

Breaking serve five times, Kerber took just little over four minutes to win the match.

Kerber is to play either Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei or Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska for a place in the quarter-finals.

Kerber has turned over a new leaf in a number of ways, parting ways with long-time coach Torben Beltz in November, the man who guided her to two grand slam titles and the world number one ranking in 2016 during an eight-year partnership.

The crafty Latvian had knocked Sharapova out of the fourth round at Flushing Meadows previous year during the Russian's return to grand slam action after a 15-month doping ban.

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The German made only seven unforced errors in the 64-minute contest and, on the court celebrated victory with the look of a woman who firmly believes she is back in business.

"I'm so happy it's 2018 not 2017".

Angelique Kerber's momentum keeps going. That was in contract to Halep's 4-6, 6-4, 15-13 win in 3 hours and 45 minutes over American Lauren Davis.

The 30-year-old, a champion in Melbourne in 2008, was beaten in straight sets by the impressive Kerber on Saturday.

The tattooed sixth seed, looking to win her first Grand Slam, came through the tight match on Margaret Court Arena against her 29th seeded compatriot 7-6 (8/6), 7-5 in 1hr 37mins. "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".

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"I think she plays extremely well when she has a lot of matches behind her back", Sharapova said.

The two had not played since 2015, though both their last fwo meetings had been thrilling three-set matches. "I'm nearly dead", Halep said of the match which equaled Chanda Rubin's win over Arantxa Shanchez Vicario in 1996 - also 48 games - for the Australian Open record in terms of most games. "So as fantastic as that run was, the combination of being exhausted from that and having a wrist that still wasn't 100 percent flawless, I just needed to kind of shut it down, calm down, and then I was really excited to start the new season".

Considered one of the contenders for the title after Serena Williams opted against defending her Australian title, Muguruza had a troubled preparation including a retirement at the Brisbane International and a withdrawal ahead the quarterfinals in Sydney because of a right thigh injury.

"There's a lot of things I need to improve on", added the world number 48. I will have to play my best tennis.

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).

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Garcia will need to recover from her three-setter to face No. 17 seed Madison Keys, who was a 6-3, 6-4 victor over Ana Bogdan.