Defending champ gone: Maria Sharapova ousts Caroline Wozniacki in Australia

first_imgSEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño LATEST STORIES Russia’s Maria Sharapova celebrates a point win over Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)MELBOURNE, Australia— Maria Sharapova smacked a forehand winner — the sort she’s hit so many times, at so many key moments, over the years — to take control against defending champion Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open. Sharapova balled up her fists, shut her eyes, threw back her head and let out a yell.She showed she’s ready to be a Grand Slam factor once again.ADVERTISEMENT The 31-year-old Russian missed the tournament in 2017 during a 15-month doping suspension that was triggered by a positive doping test during the previous year’s Australian Open.Wozniacki was the No. 3 seed in Australia, a year after beating Simona Halep in the final to claim her first major championship.Next for Sharapova is a matchup against Australia’s Ash Barty, who beat Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-1 to equal her best showing at any major tournament.“I know,” Sharapova said, “it’s going to be a tough crowd.”No. 15-seeded Barty took two nearly years off from the tennis tour after the 2014 U.S. Open and played cricket during that time.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion View comments Behind Kyle Kuzma’s heroics, Lakers top Thunder in OT without LeBron Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completioncenter_img Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Sharapova grabbed the last four games to eliminate Wozniacki 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in nearly 2½ hours Friday and reach the fourth round at Melbourne Park, building the statement-making victory with aggressive groundstrokes that gave her a 37-10 edge in total winners.“I haven’t played many matches in the last year, especially against top players,” Sharapova said. “And these are the kinds of matches I train for.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsShe cut her 2018 season short in September because of problems with her surgically repaired right shoulder.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. “Her story is phenomenal,” Sharapova said. “I know she took a little break and came back and just resurged.”Against Wozniacki, Sharapova hung in there in a back-and-forth contest.Wozniacki led 3-2 in the third set after holding at love. But Sharapova finally gained the upper hand with a break for a 4-3 lead, clinched with that big forehand she was so excited about.After holding to go up 5-3, Sharapova broke yet again to end it, closing with a big cross-court backhand.“The level was quite high,” Sharapaova said. “I knew I was going to get a tough match.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krausslast_img

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