Australian Open 2019: Maria Sharapova beats Caroline Wozniacki to advance

Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova beats Caroline Wozniacki Photo credit: Image: Getty

Russian Tennis star Maria Sharapova has beaten third seed and current champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to advance to the fourth round of the Australian Open.

The number 30 seed took the first set before losing the second. It was a close contest throughout the match with the 31-year-old winning a late break to take the advantage in the final set. 

The win sets up a fourth round clash with Australian hopeful Ash Barty who earlier survived an injury scare and a spirited challenge from Maria Sakkari to scrap her way into the Australian Open fourth round for the first time.

Australia's big title hope needed a medical time-out after the first set to treat an apparent abdominal strain but returned to complete a hard-fought 7-5 6-1 third-round win over the tough Greek.

Barty thundered down 13 aces and dropped serve just once, but looked ginger at times with her movement, no doubt the result of a gruelling workload of eight matches in the past 12 days.

The 22-year-old broke Sakkari in the 12th game to snatch a tight first set before running away with the second set and the match, prevailing after one hour and 22 minutes under a closed roof at Rod Laver Arena.

"The lively conditions suit both of us so it took time to get used to how dead and slow it is in here with the roof closed," Barty said.

"There wasn't going to be much in it the whole match and Maria is a great friend of mine and we have had exceptional matches in the past, so I'm extremely happy to come through in straight sets and find my way towards the end there."

The victory earned the 15th seed a last-16 crack at titleholder Caroline Wozniacki or fellow former champion Maria Sharapova on Sunday.

"This is amazing," Barty said after matching her charge to the US Open fourth round last year.

"I haven't played a full match with the roof closed before and it is absolutely phenomenal and to hear all the Aussies out here is just unbelievable."

The Queenslander played down any injury concerns.

"All good. It held up well in the second set so no stress at all," Barty said.

"Ice bath, physio, coffee, cricket. I'm good."

As well as a chance to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time, Barty is projected to climb to a career-high ranking of number 13 in the world, or better, after the Open.

Other third-round women's draw results:

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova  bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich  6-0 6-3

Amanda Anisimova  bt 11-Aryna Sabalenka  6-3 6-2


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