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Defending Champ Gone: Sharapova Ousts Wozniacki in Australia

Defending Champ Gone: Sharapova Ousts Wozniacki in Australia”

In other games, No.11 seed Aryna Sabalenka, from Belarus, advanced to the third round for the first time with a 6-3 6-4 win over Great Britain's Katie Boulter.

The world No.240 is already assured of a surge into the top 160 after her Open charge.

The Russian has dropped only three games in her first two matches and is hitting form quickly despite sitting out the end of the 2018 season after a fourth-round exit at the U.S. Open to give her right shoulder a rest.

The Dane returned fire past year, saying she wanted to be an example for young players.

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.

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The No.3 seed needed only an hour and six minutes to dispatch unseeded Swede Johanna Larsson in straight sets 6-1 6-3 on Margaret Court Arena.

The man who lost to Federer in the final previous year, Marin Cilic, battled back from two sets down, surviving two match points to beat Spain's Fernando Verdasco in a 4hr 18min epic.

It doesn't come much tougher in the third round than a match against the defending champion Caroline Wozniacki.

Wozniacki questioned the way the WTA handled Sharapova's return from a 15-month ban for failing a drugs test and was furious when she was bumped from the show court in favour of the Russian at the 2017 US Open.

Described as "surgical precision" by television commentators, the 28-year-old Dane dominated her Swedish challenger, making 97 percent of her returns in the all-Scandinavian match-up.

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"I think we will enjoy the next round".

Asked who was favourite for Friday's match, Sharapova conceded she was the underdog.

Wozniacki delivered the fairytale story of last year's Australian Open when she claimed her breakthrough grand slam title at her 43rd major event.

The Russian stepped up the intensity and the footwork in the second set, allowing Peterson only a single hold of serve. "I was just thinking what time I'm going to get to sleep". She loves playing here, loves everything about this tournament. "And these are the kinds of matches I train for".

"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", said a confident Barty.

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