Maria Sharapova knocked out of Australian Open tennis by Angelique Kerber

Maria Sharapova lost to Angelique Kerber in straight sets in a battle of former champions at the Australian Open tennis on Saturday.

tennis Updated: Jan 20, 2018 15:40 IST
Reuters, Melbourne
Maria Sharapova,Angelique Kerber,Australian Open
Maria Sharapova lost 1-6, 3-6 to Angelique Kerber in the third round of the Australian Open tennis tournament. (REUTERS)

Maria Sharapova’s hopes of a title-winning return at the Australian Open tennis were unceremoniously crushed by Angelique Kerber as the battle of the former champions ended 6-1, 6-3 in the German’s favour on Saturday.

The Rod Laver Arena evening clash between the only two grand slam winners left in the women’s draw had the feel of a showpiece final rather than a third-round clash but it was Kerber who rose to the occasion.

(Read | Australian Open tennis: Alexander Zverev crashes out in third-round loss to Hyeon Chung)

Sharapova, back in Melbourne after testing positive for a banned substance here in 2016 resulting in a 15-month ban, had looked menacing in the opening two rounds.

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.

(Read | Australian Open tennis: Fifth seed Dominic Thiem advances to fourth round)

She streaked away with the first set and although 2008 champion Sharapova briefly threatened a fightback after falling behind in the second, it was not to be the Russian’s night.

A fluffed drop shot attempt at 3-4 followed by an unforced error gave 2016 champion Kerber breathing space and she finished the contest in the next game.

First Published: Jan 20, 2018 15:38 IST