Sharapova is to face Angelique Kerber in the third round of the 2018 Australian Open after victories over Tatjana Maria (6-1, 6-4 Rd. 1) and world number 15 Anastasija Sevastova (6-1, 7-6 Rd. 2).
Germany’s Kerber, meanwhile, is on a roll as she chalked her 11th consecutive win for 2018 after beating Donna Vekic (6-4, 6-1 Rd. 2) and would likely be another tough match for Maria Sharapova who still seems to be finding her way since her return nine months ago.
See, though Sharapova if you recall had been fantastic at the recent US Open as she reached the fourth round while beating now world number 1 Simona Halep in the opening round, the farthest that Sharapova has gone in her next tournaments was just the semifinals — well of course, she won a non-grand slam in Tianjin against unseeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus that time. But then, that was just Sharapova’s first WTA title in two years!
In round 2 of this Australian Open, while Sharapova had her moments against Sevastova of having more net points won, the bulk of her points were actually just the result of her winners wherein she had 30 against Sevastova’s six.
Still, if Sharapova wants to get past world number 16 Kerber, she better take note of her unforced errors (31) wherein she was either a little slow to the ball or just had less control over her shots. Regardless if she only made two more double faults than her next opponent Kerber, the German only had 17 unforced errors against Croatia’s Vekic. So, time for your A-game, Maria!
Their third round match will be on January 20 at 4 in the afternoon.