Australian Open: Maria Sharapova Roars Into Third Round

As temperatures soared toward 104 degrees, it was a sizzling demolition of an opponent who had taken Sharapova to three sets in both their previous meetings.

Sharapova needed more than three hours to defeat Sevastova when the pair played in Beijing four months ago, and she was in no mood to take her time again as the temperatures rose.

She broke Sevastova to open the second set, but Sevastova broke back immediately. The jolt to the Sharapova juggernaut was evident, and she began to make unforced errors as service holds and breaks were exchanged.

At 4-4 a backhand winner got Sharapova to break point, and she converted on a follow-up screaming shot. But, once again, Sevastova broke back, and wound up forcing a tiebreaker.

Sharapova regathered herself and hit a scarcely believable forehand crosscourt winner on the run to get to 5-2. After squandering a pair of match points, she secured her victory.

Sharapova endured a string of defeats early in her comeback but she has been working her way back up the rankings. She broke through to win the Tianjin Open in October — her first title since 2015 — and enjoyed a run to the semifinal in Shenzhen to start the year.

The Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza fell out of the tournament after being beaten, 7-6 (1), 6-4, by Hsieh Su-wei.

Muguruza never looked comfortable, double-faulting on break point in the second set and recording 43 unforced errors.

She saved one match point in the ninth game on her serve before Hsieh served out the match in the next, clinching it with a winning backhand to the corner.

Muguruza had a troubled preparation for the tournament, retiring with cramps in the second round at the Brisbane International and withdrawing before her quarterfinal at Sydney because of a right thigh injury.

The British hope Johanna Konta’s love affair with the Australian Open came to an abrupt end when she was defeated by the American Bernarda Pera.

Konta, the No. 9 seed, first made her mark at Melbourne Park in 2016 when she reached the semifinals, and last year she made the quarterfinals. It is her most successful Grand Slam, but after an injury-marred lead-up to the tournament she fell, 6-4, 7-5, to the 123rd-ranked Pera, who is playing her first Australian Open.

On the men’s side, Sam Querrey was ousted after losing, 6-4, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-2, to the 80th-ranked Marton Fucsovics.

The 13th-seeded Querrey was one of 10 American players — men and women — to reach the second round from the 32 who started the main draws, the lowest number of Americans through to the second round in Melbourne since 2011.

Dominic Thiem survived his first career five-set match at the Australian Open, rallying from two sets down to defeat the American qualifier Denis Kudla, 6-7 (6), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.

Thiem, seeded fifth, was broken three times in the opening set and once in the second, then didn’t face another break point for the rest of the match.

On Wednesday night, third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov needed five sets to defeat a young American who had never won a tour-level match before qualifying for the tournament.

Mackenzie McDonald, ranked 186th, broke Dimitrov’s serve three times in the fourth set and pushed the fifth beyond 12 games — there are no tiebreakers in fifth sets at the Australian Open — before his first double-fault of the set gave Dimitrov a match point.

Dimitrov finished off a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 0-6, 8-6 win as midnight approached.

Continue reading the main story

Check Also

Team Lebron vs. Team Steph Wasn’t Bad. But How About U.S. vs. the World?

“I didn’t expect tonight to be as competitive as it was,” said Team LeBron Coach …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *