Maria Sharapova sends defending champion Caroline Wozniacki packing
Maria Sharapova went the distance against Caroline Wozniacki, ending the defending champion’s dream of back-to-back Australian Open titles.
Sharapova, a former winner in Melbourne, was on the back foot in the opening set but rallied back to win five games on the trot to seize the early advantage.
While it looked as if she may wrap it up in two, taking an early break, she was broken right back.
A sloppy service game in the final game of the second meant Wozniacki leveled to take it to a decider.
Sharapova, who hasn’t progressed past the quarterfinals of the Australian Open since 2015, bagged the only break of serve in the third to seal the victory 6-4 4-6 6-3.
The former World No1 laid down 37 winners in the two-hour-24-minute match while Wozniacki could only manage 10.
— Barry (@Brebrov) January 18, 2019
“I thought the level was quite high. I knew I’d get a tough match,” said the 31-year-old.
“I haven’t played many matches in the last year against top players so it was really rewarding to win that last set.
“These are the kinds of matches I train for.”
Sharapova’s next opponent is Australian hopeful Ashleigh Barty.
The 15th seed had a relatively straightforward win over Maria Sakkari, beating her 7-5 6-1 earlier in the day.
More from Tennis365:
Britain’s Heather Watson beaten in Abu Dhabi as the world No.1 also crashes out
Heather Watson bowed out of the Abu Dhabi Open in a gruelling second-round defeat by 17th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova.
Quarantine plan revealed for the game’s top players ahead of Australian Open
The world’s leading players will quarantine in Adelaide rather than Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open.
Rising star provisionally suspended from all tennis activity following a positive doping test
Ukrainian rising star Dayana Yastremska has been…
Is this the real reason why Roger Federer is skipping next month’s Australian Open?
Roger Federer suggested he pulled out of the Australian Open for fitness reasons, yet other reasons were in play.
Sofia Kenin wins as the tennis season gets underway despite doubts over what happens next
No.1 seed Sofia Kenin of the United…
Exclusive – F1 champ Jenson Button on his love of tennis and the Federer vs Nadal debate
Formula 1 ace Jenson Button has admitted he is ‘in awe’ of the tennis giants of the modern era.
Exclusive – British Davis Cup captain makes a prediction for Dan Evans in 2021
British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith believes Dan Evans could be a player to watch in 2021.
Tennis star Camila Giorgi draws mixed response after posting sexy lingerie images on social media
Tennis star Camila Giorgi has been targeted by online trolls after sharing a series of racy lingerie snaps on her social media channels.
Legendary coach of Boris Becker and Goran Ivanisevic loses his fight with cancer
Bob Brett, one of tennis’ most respected coaches and a former director of player development has died of cancer.
Australian Open organisers scrambling to finalise preparations for players
The hard work appeared to have been done when Tennis Australia announced last month that the tournament would start on February 8.