Kerber sets up Sharapova clash of the champions

Maricruz Casares
Enero 20, 2018

"The second set was tight, the match was close and I had to focus to the very end", said the Swiss 19-time Grand Slam victor, who next plays little-known Hungarian Marton Fucsovics for a place in the quarter-finals. Halep will play the victor of Saturday's later match between local hope Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka.

The win was a relief for Djokovic, who says he's still not 100 percent after six months off the tour with an injured right elbow and who lost in a second-round shocker here past year.

Sharapova's hopes of a title-winning return to the Australian Open were crushed by the German in just one hour and four minutes as she completely dominated the clash of the former champions ended. Maria's a champion, she played so good the last few weeks.

It's supposed to be even hotter on Friday, with a forecast high of 42 Celsius (108 Fahrenheit).

For Sharapova, who is looking to rediscover her best on her way back from a 15-month drugs ban, it is back to the drawing board.

"After the first set, I was trying to not thinking about the score, just going for it, trying to be aggressive and playing my game. Something I've been working on, and definitely improved in the match today".

The pair of of former world No.1s will meet in the round of 32 on Saturday, with reigning French Open champ Jelena Ostapenko the only other woman still alive in the women's draw to have won a grand slam crown.

Their encounter equalled the Open's record for most games played in a women's match - and also saw some impromptu courtside surgery when the American lost a toenail.

Muguruza acknowledged that the heat was bothersome, but it wasn't the hottest conditions she'd experienced in Australia.

The 30-year-old said: "I have so many great memories from this court".

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Kyrgios is now the only Australian with a chance to take an Open singles title.

Against Hsieh, she struggled with her serve, made 43 unforced errors.

The harder and flatter Sharapova tried to hit the ball, the quicker it came back at her. She's always unsafe, especially at the Grand Slams.

Pera will next play No. 20 Barbora Strycova.

Kerber - who won her first major title at the 2016 Open - proved too good for Croatia's Donna Vekic and won 6-4 6-1.

"I know that I have to play my best tennis again".

No. 25 Fabio Fognini overcame Julien Benneteau 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.

The26th seed, Radwanska, needed three sets to fend off her Ukrainian opponent 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 in a thrilling second-round clash.

Among the men through was Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem and veteran Tomas Berdych, along with American Tennys Sandgren, who had never won a Grand Slam match before this year's Australian Open.

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