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Djokovic sails into Australian Open pre quarters, Sharapova out

Djokovic sails into Australian Open pre quarters, Sharapova out

The Russian, back in the top 50 after 15 months on the sidelines, had her progress at the Australian Open ruthlessly snuffed out by 2016 champion Angelique Kerber in the third round Saturday. Those shared traits point to the common qualities that have made each of them such stars - huge natural talent, enduring athleticism and a fierce determination to fully capitalise on both. But Kerber has, until recently, dipped by her own high standards, and Sharapova has been absent from the tour. "He's a very complete player", said the Spaniard, who is chasing his second Melbourne title after beating Roger Federer in the 2009 final.

Her ranking slid into the 20s in 2017, but she's coming back into the kind of form which makes her a title contender at Melbourne Park.

So, the final judgement following this highly anticipated match between two former Australian Open champions? "It's another tough match here", said Kerber. Honestly, I played two sets out of breath, for nothing, just to please the official.

"I don't know if it will happen this year but so far, so good". The Argentine and the Russian met for the first time in Auckland two weeks ago, and Delpo emerged a 7-6 (4), 6-3 victor. Kerber is the victor of their past two encounters - on grass at Wimbledon and clay in Stuttgart - but they haven't competed since 2015.

"I had a really tough off-season and I was working hard to be here and playing against the best players". 'I'm looking forward to playing against her. "I think I have a small heatstroke for 40 minutes ... even with the ice towel, the water, I think my body was super warm". It's fine. I finished the match. "She's had success here".

However, the numbers did not tell the full story as both players battled extreme heat in Melbourne, the mercury rising to 42 degrees Celsius at times on Rod Laver Arena, conditions they were critical of post-match. Obviously have some food, have a good night's rest, see how I feel tomorrow.




Similar tests exist for former champions in the men's draw.

While Novak has won all four encounters against the lefty Spaniard - the most recent in the fourth round of Roland Garros previous year - he also admits that physically he's "not 100 per cent, but (still) building".

With the finishing line edging closer Federer appeared to momentarily lose his concentration as Gasquet brought up his first break point of the match with the 36-year-old serving with a break advantage at 4-2. The Swiss leads the pair's head-to-head record 16-2 and anticipates a quality match.

"Sometimes when you toss the ball up serve, the sun was a problem, but I liked that we were out there a bit earlier". "He's got great variation, it starts with his serve, then starts with his backhand (and he) can move to the net". "Shows how much depth we have in the women's game right now".

Other seeded players advancing included Wimbledon champion Garbine Mugurza, No. 6 Karolina Pliskova, No. 8 Caroline Garcia, No. 16 Elena Vesnina, and No. 29 Lucie Safarova.