Australian Open: Maria Sharapova shaken in Oz
Russian ace beaten 1-6, 3-6 by Kerber in a battle of former champions
Maria Sharapova returns to Angelique Kerber in Melbourne on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images
Maria Sharapova wanted to test her level against the leading players but found the answer a rather brutal one as she took just four games off a rejuvenated Angelique Kerber in the third round of the Australian Open here on Saturday. Kerber is fast looking like the favourite for the women's title and played at a very high level throughout the 6-1, 6-3 victory, which lasted only 64 minutes. Sharapova said she would not shy away from the work needed to try to get back to Grand Slam-winning level after her 15-month doping ban.
Kerber is ecstatic after beating Sharapova
Need to improve: Maria
"There's a lot of things I need to improve on," she said. "This is a process. It's a lot of things that take time. To be able to get these matches, players that are playing this well, I'm going to face a lot of them this year. I'll have to bring it. Today was not enough." The match was a clash between the only two former champions in the draw and Kerber is looking ominously like the player who won her maiden Slam in Melbourne two years ago before going on to win Wimbledon and finish 2016 as World No. 1.
Taiwanese veteran Hsieh Su-wei reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for only the second time when she rolled past Agnieszka Radwanska. Hsieh, who knocked out third seed Garbine Muguruza in round two, followed up with an assured victory over the Polish former World No. 2 6-2, 7-5 in an hour and 39 minutes. Karolina Pliskova outmuscled fellow Czech Lucie Safarova 7-6 (8/6), 7-5 in 1hr 37mins to make the fourth round.
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