Australian Open: Sharapova Eliminates Title-Holder Wozniacki

Maria Sharapova rolled back the years at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne with her aggressive tennis to eliminate defending Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 4-6 6-3 in the blockbuster third round on Friday.

The five-time major winner, who won her last major at the 2014 French Open, hit 37 winners against 10 from her Danish opponent.

Sharapova, who won the Australian Open in 2008, headed into the match with a 6-4 lead in their previous meetings.

She went for her shots from the first point, making it difficult for the third-ranked Dane with a game built on defence.

Amd the 31-year-old converted her second match point to set up a fourth-round clash against Australia number one Ashleigh Barty.

“I thought the level was quite high. She is the defending champion of this event and it’s no secret she loves this arena,” Sharapova said in a courtside interview.

“These are the types of matches I train for. So, it’s really rewarding to win that last point.

“I’m definitely not walking around thinking I have experience and think they’re just going to give it to me.”

The 30th seed, who sealed victory in two hours and 24 minutes, will brace for a hostile crowd in the fourth round when she takes on local hope Barty, who beat Greek Maria Sakkari 7-5 6-1.

“I think her story is phenomenal. She loves playing here,” Sharapova said of her next opponent.

“I know it’s going to be a tough crowd, but I go out here to perform and play tennis.”

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