Australian Open: Halep beats Lauren Davis after three-hour long epic set

Lynette Rowe
January 21, 2018

Angelique Kerber won the battle of the former Australian Open champions to dump Maria Sharapova out of the competition and become the only remaining Grand Slam champion left in the women's draw.

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.

But Kerber, who plummeted down the rankings last year after finishing the year before at number one, broke her serve in the first game of the match and that set the tone for what followed.

Both are in good form, with the victor rewarded with a clash against either Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska or Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei for a place in the quarter-finals.

"I feel really happy but I'm also kind of sorry because I know you guys wanted her to win", the exultant 20-year-old said after the match. I was really happy we have 2018 and not 2017.

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Sharapova came into the match with a 4-3 career lead in matches, but Kerber had won their past two matches, including at Wimbledon in 2014. However, Kerber was simply far too good for Sharapova when it boiled down to it, with the 2016 champion easing past the 2008 champion 6-1, 6-3 in just an hour and four minutes. "I gave her the confidence by making a lot of errors on the return games".

With temperatures edging towards 40-degrees Celsius at Melbourne Park, Novak Djokovic overcame Gael Monfils 4-6 6-3 6-1 6-3, as the Serbian kept his cool to continue his comeback charge from an elbow injury.

Kerber, who joined Sharapova in the 30-something club on Thursday, beat absent reigning champion Serena Williams to win the 2016 Australian Open and is a formidable opponent when at her best. "I think I can be more consistent", Sharapova, who defeated Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova in the second round, was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald. It's fine. I finished the match. "So as unbelievable as that run was, the combination of being exhausted from that and having a wrist that still wasn't 100 percent ideal, I just needed to kind of shut it down, calm down, and then I was really excited to start the new season". As I said, this is a process. "I did my job in two sets against someone that's been troubling in the past for me", she told reporters. "My ankle is, I don't know how it is because I don't feel it anymore!" "But it was nice to win and to again be in the fourth round of this tournament is great".

In other women's third-round matches, sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova beat Lucie Safarova 7-6 (6), 7-5 and No. 8 Caroline Garcia beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

Garcia will need to recover from her three-setter to face No. 17 seed Madison Keys, who was a 6-3, 6-4 victor over Ana Bogdan. I just kept believing that it's not over, even if she's leading a little bit more.

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