Kerber edges out Sharapova, advances to Australian Open 4th round

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Maria Sharapova was beaten by Angelique Kerber in straight sets

Former champions Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber will meet in a mouth-watering Australian Open third-round clash after hanging tough to record convincing wins in brutal conditions on Thursday.

Chung beat fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev 5-7, 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in the third round on Rod Laver Arena.

This was Sharapova's first appearance at the Australian Open since 2016, when she tested positive for meldonium and later was handed a 15-month ban. But Kerber, who plummeted down the rankings a year ago after finishing 2016 at No.1, broke Sharapova's serve in the first game of the match and that set the tone for what followed.

Kerber, apart from a lull in the second set, seemed back to her best as she stormed to a 6-1 6-3 victory.

The German rose to world number one during a 2016 that yielded success in Melbourne and at the US Open, but she plummeted down the rankings after failing to match those standards last season.

21st seed Angelique Kerber remained unbeaten in 2018 on Saturday after easing past five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova in a highly impressive performance at the Australian Open.

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"I look forward to these matches".

"She has played very well in the last two games here".

"I just have to accept it, embrace it, obviously hope for a better day next match".

"I think now I'm much stronger (mentally)", the 26-year- old told reporters.

Kerber and Sharapova were the only previous Australian Open champions in the draw and by this meeting were the only Grand Slam champions left in the tournament, with many believing that this could be an incredibly tight encounter.

She sealed the win on her first match point when 76th-ranked Davis fired a forehand into the tramlines, as the hard-hitting American coughed up a mind-boggling 73rd unforced error.

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"Happy to be playing tennis again like 2016, " said Kerber, who planned an ice bath before a relaxed dinner out in Melbourne to mark the occasion.

The Swiss star beat the Frenchman 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 in just under two hours in a night match on Rod Laver Arena.

Madison Keys of the United States defeated Ana Bogdan of Romania 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the fourth round of the Australian Open. The former world No 1 had to drop out of the year's first Slam to go for a hip surgery.

Tomas Berdych beat 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets and fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem beat Adrian Mannarino to set up a match against Tennys Sandgren.

Another unexpected loss at a major had the highly touted Zverev admitting he may have a problem.

"It feels unbelievable. I was ready to leave on Monday and then they told me I'm in, so I was obviously excited, " Pera said.

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