Australian Open: Angelique Kerber beats Maria Sharapova in straight sets

Tricia Pearson
January 21, 2018

Maria Sharapova is relieved to have come through the Australian Open fit and healthy and now hopes to kick on following her disappointing fourth-round defeat to Angelique Kerber.

Though this match may have shown how far Sharapova, now ranked 48th, still has to go to get back into Grand Slam winning form, it also showed that Kerber is once again playing incredibly well and is undoubtedly a huge contender for the title this year.

Kerber took the first set in just 29 minutes, displaying her trademark athleticism and forcing Sharapova into a number of erratic shots.

"I was so happy that we have 2018 and not 2017 anymore", an emotional Kerber said after the match.

Photo Sharapova, a former No. 1, is closing in on a top-40 ranking, but she has not gone past the fourth round in the two majors she has played since returning last season from a 15-month suspension for an antidoping violation. "I gave everything I had today, and actually, I'm really proud that I could stay there and win it".

American Davis traded toe to toe with the world number one for three hours and 44 minutes but Halep finally forced a match point and took it for a 4-6 6-4 15-13 victory.

U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys advanced 6-3, 6-4 over Ana Bogdan and will next play No. 8 Caroline Garcia, who beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

ANGELIQUE KERBER stopped Maria Sharapova's Aussie Open comeback dead in its tracks. To be able to get these matches, players that are playing this well, I'm going to face a lot of them this year. "It's a little bit different than with Torben, but you know, I think I needed the change, and that's why I made a decision to change everything".

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An error-prone Sharapova double-faulted on the way to dropping serve to trail 0-2 in the second set. "So as incredible 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".

Six minutes later and a third break, this time to love, brought the first set to the German who celebrated her 30th birthday earlier this week by taking it with just two unforced errors.

The 36-year-old Swiss maestro is yet to drop a set in his quest for an incredible 20th Grand Slam title.

An emotional Kerber said: "I have so many great memories from this court".

"There's a lot of things I need to improve on".

No. 5 Dominic Thiem rallied to beat 190th-ranked American qualifier Denis Kudla 6-7 (6), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 and No. 21 Albert Ramos beat another American, wild-card entry Tim Smyczek.

"I had a really tough off-season and I was working hard to be here and playing against the best players".

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.

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