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18 Jan, 2019 09:07

‘It’s really rewarding to win the last point’: Sharapova knocks out defending Australian Open champ

‘It’s really rewarding to win the last point’: Sharapova knocks out defending Australian Open champ

Former world number one Maria Sharapova has eliminated reigning Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark to advance to the fourth round of the season-opening Grand Slam tournament.

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The 31-year-old inflicted a three set defeat on the third seeded Dane, ending her title defense in Melbourne.

The five-time Grand Slam winner confidently won the first set 6-4 before losing the second one with a mirror score of 4-6.

Sharapova displayed solid and powerful tennis in the match decider to claim a 6-3 win, reaching the second week in Melbourne for the first time since 2016.

I thought the level was quite high. I knew I was going to get a really tough match. I haven’t played a lot of matches in the last year, especially against top players,” Sharapova said after the match. “These are the matches you train for and it’s really rewarding to win the last point.

Screaming in delight after converting her third breakpoint, Sharapova sealed her third straight victory at the tournament in two hours and 24 minutes.

Wozniacki is the second highly-ranked opponent Sharapova has beaten since her sensational first-round victory over Simona Halep at the US Open in 2017.

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Up next for Sharapova is Australian hopeful Ashleigh Barty, who defeated Greece’s Maria Sakkari 7-5 6-1 in her match.