Angelique Kerber Is Learning How to Win Again

Angelique Kerber Is Learning How to Win Again

Ronald Pratt
January 21, 2018

After two comfortable wins the five-time major victor was growing in confidence, but she had no answers for Kerber, who is on a 12-match winning streak in a kind of comeback of her own after a sliding down the rankings past year.

The 2016 champion routed Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 in a third-round win that showcased her credentials as a title contender and ensured she'll be the only Grand Slam champion still playing in the second week in the women's draw.

Maria Sharapova, the 2008 Australian Open victor, hurried through the first set on Rod Laver Arena in 23 minutes before beating No. 14-seeded Anastasija Sevastova 6-1, 7-6 (4).

Back in Melbourne for the first time since testing positive to the banned substance Meldonium two years ago, Sharapova was delighted at only needing two sets to oust Latvian counter-puncher Anastasija Sevastova. The second set was much more comfortable as she held serve and took the two chances to break she presented to seal the win.

Kerber was uncomfortable in her skin as the top seed during last year's tournament, when she lost in the fourth round to American CoCo Vandeweghe, but ranked 21st this year, she looms as a unsafe floater in the draw.

The 30-year-old, a champion in Melbourne in 2008, was beaten in straight sets by the impressive Kerber on Saturday. I felt the pain all match, but I didn't give up.

The two greats of the game - who have won 11 Australian Opens between them - could meet in the last four if they maintain their winning ways, but both have tricky third-round tests ahead. "I'm happy about how I played tonight". "I think it was a good decision to do it".

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Sharapova, playing only her second grand slam since returning from her doping suspension, took it on the chin.

The heat intensified as six-time champion Novak Djokovic extended his personal streak against Gael Monfils to 15-0 with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 victory in which both players slouched over in the shade at the back of the court between points.

Halep will next play Naomi Osaka, who beat 18th-seeded Ash Barty 6-4, 6-2.

Fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem beat Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 to set up a fourth-round match against Tennys Sandgren, who continued his career-best run by beating Maximilian Marterer 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 7-6 (5).

Madison Keys of the United States defeated Ana Bogdan of Romania 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the fourth round of the Australian Open.

"It feels incredible. I was ready to leave on Monday and then they told me I'm in, so I was obviously excited, " Pera said. The 2016 victor from Germany and 21st seed roared past the unseeded Russian 2008 champion 6-1, 6-3 in 64 minutes to reach the last 16.

Tomas Berdych ended 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro's return to Melbourne Park for the first time since 2014 with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 win.