Birthday girl Kerber sets up Sharapova clash

Birthday girl Kerber sets up Sharapova clash

Maria Sharapova will take centre stage on Rod Laver Arena against Angelique Kerber in what is shaping as a fascinating encounter between the only two former Australian Open winners left in the women's draw. Chung beat fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev 5-7, 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 six days after a win over No. 32 Mischa Zverev.

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.

Now seeded 14th, Djokovic needed four match points in an eight-minute last game before clinching the win against Mofils, who needed a medical time out for heat stress in the second set and said he had trouble breathing.

Keys missed last year's Australian Open after undergoing surgery to fix her injured left wrist.

Sharapova had made it through the opening rounds without dropping a set, but the 2008 champion was outmatched by her Kerber, who evened up the ledger in their eighth career meeting.

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After serving a 15-month doping ban, Sharapova's much-hyped grand slam comeback was ended by Sevastova in a fourth-round epic at last year's US Open.

Women's No. 1 Simona Halep took a longer route - equaling a mark in Melbourne for endurance but signalling, perhaps, that she's closer to a Grand Slam breakthrough.

"I'm looking forward to the thirties".

"I knew before the match it would be a tough one". "My ankle is, I don't know how it is because I don't feel it anymore!" "I think it was a good decision to do it".

Also advancing were No. 8 Caroline Garcia and No. 26 Agnieszka Radwanska, who next plays Hsieh.

Kerber sets up Sharapova clash of the champions
Ninth-seeded Johanna Konta was more exposed to the heat on an outside court, and lost to US lucky loser Bernarda Pera 6-4, 7-5. I was watching this tournament a year ago with a box of Kleenex next to me sick.

Sixth seed Karolina Pliskova remained on course for a semifinal clash with Halep as she beat fellow Czech Fed Cup teammate Lucie Safarova 7-6 (7-6), 7-5 to move into the fourth round.

Considered one of the contenders for the title after Serena Williams opted against defending her Australian title, Muguruza had a troubled preparation including a retirement at the Brisbane International and a withdrawal ahead the quarterfinals in Sydney because of a right thigh injury.

The Ipswich 21-year-old went down in straight sets 6-4, 6-2, but the numbers don't tell the full story of a game that was a tour de force for the visitor and a shocking anticlimax for Barty, who walked onto Margaret Court Arena accompanied by the hopes of a nation. "Don't know if (winning) is going to happen this year, but so far, so good".

Fognini will next play the victor of a later match Saturday between Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin del Potro.

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

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"I have some figuring out to do, what happens to me in deciding moments in Grand Slam", he said.

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