Australian Open 2019: Maria Sharapova beats defending champion Caroline Wozniacki

Maria Sharapova has dropped just three games in her opening two matches

Maria Sharapova has dropped just three games in her opening two matches

After the match, while Sharapova rejoiced, Wozniacki took some parting digs at the Russian. "It was definitely a match that I looked forward to when the draw came out".

"But, yeah, I thought it was, as usual, as expected, a physical match". Though the Dane would save both, she couldn't shake Sharapova, who let out a roar as she edged ahead what would be a crucial break.

"I always enjoy my birthday here - I think it's the 12th time in a row", Kerber said.

The pair had avoided each other on court since the 31-year-old's comeback from her drugs ban until Friday's third-round meeting at Melbourne Park and it was largely a civilised affair, with no obvious show of emotion from either when shaking hands at the net after Sharapova knocked out the defending champion.

She has won seven of eight matches this month to back up a title victory in Zhuhai late previous year to shape up as a risky opponent for Sharapova. "I know she took a little break and came back and just resurged".

Wozniacki is the highest-ranked opponent Sharapova has beaten since her first-round victory over Simona Halep at the US Open in 2017.

Roger Federer Wins Second Round, Marin Cilic Advances, Kevin Anderson Loses
No. 5 Sloane Stephens opened the day in Rod Laver Arena with a 6-3, 6-1 victory against her junior doubles partner Timea Babos. Later, Rafael Nadal set up a third-round showdown against 19-year-old Australian Alex de Minaur with a straight-set victory.

No. 15-seeded Barty took two almost years off from the tennis tour after the 2014 U.S. Open and played cricket during that time.

Next for Sharapova is a matchup against Australia's Ash Barty, who beat Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-1 to equal her best showing at any major tournament.

Wozniacki lashed out at tennis tournaments for offering Sharapova wild cards after she return from her doping ban. "I don't pull those out often", she said, indicating to her tee.

She was ahead 3-2 in the deciding set but was broken twice from there to lose the match that went for almost two and a half hours.

Wozniacki was among the players most critical of the Russian being given wildcards to ease her return from suspension and when she lobbied against Sharapova receiving one for the French Open - which was ultimately refused - Sharapova's agent Max Eisenbud described her as a journeyman who was fearful of his client preventing her from winning a Grand Slam. "That's the real thing", said 17-time Grand Slam champion Nadal, seeded two.

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