Maria Sharapova vs Angelique Kerber, Australian Open third round

Angelique Kerber thrashed Maria Sharapova in straight sets in the third round of the Australian Open on Saturday.

Defending men's champion Roger Federer's will look to continue his imperious advance through the draw when he meets Frenchman Richard Gasquet, while six-times champion Novak Djokovic and young gun Alexander Zverev are also in action.

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.

Ashleigh Barty's expression says it all.

Federer entered the Australian Open a year ago under similar circumstances, coming off an extended break for a knee injury, and went on to win the title.

The resurgent German, who broke a 27-tournament title drought with victory at the Sydney International in the leadup, is now riding a seven-match winning streak as she looks to recapture the form that propelled her to the 2016 title at Melbourne Park.

That was in contract to Halep's 4-6, 6-4, 15-13 win in 3 hours and 45 minutes over American Lauren Davis.

The only game 2008 Aussie Open champion Sharapova won came after she had saved another break point with a dead netcord.

But there will be no Konta, who lost 6-4, 7-5 to world No 123 Croatian-American Bernarda Pera. "She was the more aggressive player".

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Heat hovered around 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) as 2016 champion Angelique Kerber set up a meeting with Sharapova with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Donna Vekic in a 70-minute afternoon match at Margaret Court Arena. Prior to the major tournament, she also reached the semifinals at the Shenzhen Open.

Kerber said Fissette was her first choice, and they are now off to a flying start.

Djokovic took a medical timeout in the second set to have his back and legs massaged but appeared to show little ill effects for the rest of the match.

"I have so many great memories from this court (Rod Laver Arena)", Kerber, the 2016 Australian Open champion, said.

Sharapova, still unseeded after returning from her 15-month doping ban, sees matches against the leading players as the best way to test her level.

The 20-year-old Zverev has five titles on the elite tour, but his fourth-round exit at Wimbledon last year remains his best run at a major.

"I was so happy that we have 2018 and not 2017 anymore", an emotional Kerber said after the match. I was just hanging in there trying to use every single opportunity.

But for now, Kerber, who turned 30 on Thursday, is the veteran champion working her way back in a sunlit place.

"But I was really trying to not think about everything around and everything about the match, about against who I was playing".


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