Maria Sharapova defeated defending champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in the third round of the 2019 Australian Open on Friday. Wozniacki led by a break across the opening two sets but was broken back by the 2008 champion.
The first set was especially brutal for the Dane as she lost five consecutive games from 4-1 up to lose the set 6-4. She led by a break 2-1 in the second set but was broken right back. However, a flurry of errors from Sharapovas racquet led to a decisive breakdown of her game and in the ninth game of the set, she was broken, and handed over the set to Wozniacki.
In the third set, Sharapova upped the ante of her aggression and Wozniacki despite starting the set with easier service holds looked she was playing catch up to her opponent. The Russian found herself facing a breakpoint at *2-3 but saved it to level the set and in the immediate game, broke Wozniacki to go up 4-3.
An easy consolidation followed to help take a 5-3 lead in the set. Serving to stay in the set, Wozniacki found herself facing match point but saved it with no-holds barred play. However, Sharapova outlasted her opponent as she secured the match on her second match point.
Sharapova won 74% points off her first serves as compared to Wozniackis 69%. The biggest playmaking difference of the day was, however, between the second-serve points won between the two players. While the 30th seed won a decent 59% points off her second serves, Wozniacki was able to win merely 35% points.
Sharapova also had far better success while approaching the net, winning 75% points to her opponents 20%. Sharapova ended the match with nearly four times as many winners as Wozniacki 37 to 10 and had a little over twice as many unforced errors as the Dane 46 to 21.
Sharapova next faces home favourite Ashleigh Barty in the pre-quarter-finals. The 15th seed had a relatively straightforward win over Maria Sakkari, beating her 7-5, 6-1 in their match earlier in the day. Photo Credit: Ben Solomon (Tennis Australia)