Sunday, 17 February, 2019

Barty eases into fourth round with win over Sakkari

Thumbnail Barty's fit and firing as she moves into the round of 16
Shannon Reynolds | 21 January, 2019, 01:10

Sharapova balled up her fists, shut her eyes, threw back her head and let out a yell.

She next faces Sharapova, the 2008 Open champion, who ended Caroline Wozniacki's title defence with a gripping three-set victory, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

'It's getting to the point now where I'm feeling more and more comfortable on the court and can play my brand of tennis, which when I execute I know it works against the best in the world'.

She cut her 2018 season short in September because of problems with her surgically repaired right shoulder.

No Australian man or woman has won the singles title at their home Grand Slam since the 1970s.

Sharapova missed the tournament in 2017 during a 15-month doping suspension that was triggered by a positive doping test during the previous year's Australian Open.

Maria Sharapova was asked if she thought that her draw was hard, during her press conference after her victory against Wozniacki.

Ashleigh Barty has played down injury concerns to win through to a fourth-round meeting with former world number one and five-time major victor, Maria Sharapova, at the Australian Open.

The injury scare was the only negative in an otherwise smooth display by the 15th seed, who is in the fourth round of her home grand slam for the first time.

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"Her story is phenomenal".

"So will I. I think we will see some athletic attacking tennis being played".

Meanwhile, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova swept aside Aliaksandra Sasnovich in straight sets 6-0 6-3. But Sharapova finally gained the upper hand with a break for a 4-3 lead, clinched with that big forehand she was so excited about.

"The level was quite high", Sharapaova said.

Taking everything into consideration, I am going to pick Maria Sharapova to win this match. "I can't believe that this is happening right now".

Anisimova's first trip to Australia, and third appearance in the main draw at a major, now progresses to Week 2 and a matchup against two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who beat Belinda Bencic 6-1, 6-4.

The Greek benefited from a mis-hit from the Australian to break back immediately, but a succession of aggressive double faults allowed Barty to gain the upper hand and put one foot in the fourth round with the first set.

Stephens moves on to face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russian Federation, who defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-0, 6-3 earlier in the day. Rafael Nadal opens night play on the same court against Australian Alex de Minaur, followed by 2016 champion Angelique Kerber's match against Australian wild-card entry Kimberly Birrell. "I'll never forget the birthdays here in Australia".

Shrapova feels happy with herself after the victory and is looking well relaxed ahead of her next one.

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