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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Maria Sharapova knocks out defending Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki

Maria Sharapova turned back the clock to knock out defending Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki in a barnstormer of a contest on Rod Laver Arena on Friday.
Sharapova, who won the tournament in 2008, came through a lung-busting clash 6-4 4-6 6-3 hitting 37 winners on her way to a thrilling victory.
"I knew I was going to get a really tough match as she's the defending champion of this event and it's no secret she loves this arena," she said after shocking Wozniacki.
"I haven't played many matches in the last year, especially against top players and these are the ones I train for, so it's really rewarding to win."
Wozniacki raced to a 4-1 lead in the opening set but Sharapova raised her level and reeled off the next five games to grab the early advantage in the contest.
The second set followed a similar pattern before Wozniacki took advantage of Sharapova's sloppy serving late on to drag the match into a decider.
The Russian was not to be denied, however, as she closed out the win on her second match point in two hours and 24 minutes.
She will next play local favourite Ashleigh Barty, who became the first player through to the last 16 with a 7-5 6-1 win over Maria Sakkari.
Seventeen-year-old Amanda Anisimova burst into the big time with a stunning win over Aryna Sabalenka to reach the fourth round.
The American teenager has been marked out for a big future for a while but this performance showed she is ready to make an impact at the latter stages of the Grand Slams right now.
Sabalenka, 20, has enjoyed her own rapid rise and went into the tournament as many pundits' pick for the title, but even her powerful game was no match for Anisimova.
The teenager looked like she played big matches on Margaret Court Arena every day and powered 21 winners past a bewildered Sabalenka, clinching victory in just 65 minutes.
Angelique Kerber raced into the last 16 after overpowering local wildcard Kimberly Birrell 6-1 6-0.
The Wimbledon champion swept world No 240 Birrell aside in just 58 minutes to set up a fourth round clash with unseeded American Danielle Collins.