Sharapova claims underdog status against Wozniacki

Federer is set to meet Nadal at the Australian Open
Federer is set to meet Nadal at the Australian Open

21 January, 2019

"I had a really good feeling out here today against someone who can be unsafe", said Federer after reaching the Melbourne fourth round for the 17th time - more than anyone else ever.

Kerber may be a match too far for Birrell but she will not be the only player to feel that this tournament. With determination she got there previous year.

Almost two years into her comeback from a 15-month doping ban, Sharapova has not yet shown signs that she is about to return to the top of the game, but victory over Wozniacki tomorrow would certainly be a statement. "It's tough to tell", Sharapova said when asked to assess the match up.

Wozniacki questioned the way the WTA handled Sharapova's return from a 15-month ban for failing a drugs test and was furious when she was bumped from the show court in favour of the Russian at the 2017 US Open.

Maria Sharapova overcomes a tenacious Caroline Wozniacki at Australian Open. "But, yeah, despite all those changes, I thought I played well".

The No.3 seed needed only an hour and six minutes to dispatch unseeded Swede Johanna Larsson in straight sets 6-1 6-3 on Margaret Court Arena.

The 31-year-old Sharapova, who last won a Grand Slam at the 2014 French Open, only struggled against the Swede briefly in the second set during a lengthy hold of serve to go up 5-1.

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Serving was no problem for either woman to start the set, and it would be Wozniacki who ran into trouble first.

"I was just trying to stay consistent and stay as aggressive as I could in the end".

Described as "surgical precision" by television commentators, the 28-year-old Dane dominated her Swedish challenger, making 97 percent of her returns in the all-Scandinavian match-up.

Sharapova is seeded only 30th at Melbourne Park, where she won the 2008 title for one of her five Grand Slam trophies but hasn't been past the quarterfinals since 2015.

"I have to be out there and play my best in the next match and that's really it". I mean, I think that speaks for itself in terms of her game, her confidence, everything else. "If I play my best then I'm hard to beat".

The 30th-seeded Russian eliminated defending champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 and will now face Australian number one and home favorite Ashleigh Barty.

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