New partner for Mattek-Sands at Aussie Open

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki won her maiden Grand Slam title at the 2018 Australian Open

Sharapova grabbed the last four games to eliminate Wozniacki 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in almost 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.

The Russian has dropped only three games in her first two matches and is hitting form quickly despite sitting out the end of the 2018 season after a fourth-round exit at the U.S. Open to give her right shoulder a rest.

"I'm very passionate about drug use because I've spent so many years fighting fair", she said.

Sharapova won 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 with the roof closed on Rod Laver Arena and will next play in-form local hope Ashleigh Barty, who bounced Greece's Maria Sakkari, for a berth in the quarter-finals.

Second seed Nadal called young Australian Alex de Minaur "one of the best in the world" ahead of their evening clash, then proceeded to hand him a tennis lesson, dismantling the teenager 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.

Asked what her bedtime was, Sharapova said: "10:30".

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. Now Wozniacki is seeded third here and Sharapova is 30th.

The 31-year-old 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. "But, yeah, despite all those changes, I thought I played well". I expect her to do all those things on Friday.

The Russian stepped up the intensity and the footwork in the second set, allowing Peterson only a single hold of serve. "I knew I was going to get a tough match".

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.

Kerber may be a match too far for Birrell but she will not be the only player to feel that this tournament.

"It's getting to the point now where I'm feeling more and more comfortable on the court and can play my brand of tennis, which when I execute I know it works against the best in the world", said a confident Barty.

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