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21 January 2018, 12:12 | Franklin Nunez
Hsieh Su-wei celebrates after defeating Garbine Muguruza
After two comfortable wins the five-time major victor was growing in confidence, but she had no answers for Kerber, who is on a 12-match winning streak in a kind of comeback of her own after a sliding down the rankings previous year.
Kerber - who won her first major title at the 2016 Open - proved too good for Croatia's Donna Vekic and won 6-4 6-1.
When a backhand return victor brought up a break point and a trademark yell of "C'mon!" from Sharapova, you thought she might be on the point of turning the match on its head.
Kerber is to play either Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei or Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska for a place in the quarter-finals.
"I really enjoyed being back in Australia", said Kerber. I'm around 50 in the world at this point, so I know I'm going to be facing seeded players first, second, third round.
"And it works. It works from the beginning". "I never played the third set so long, so I'm really happy I could stay and win it".
Kerber's year-end ranking dropped from No. 1 in 2016 to 21 past year, when she failed to defend her Australian or U.S. Open titles.
Kerber sent an early reminder of her recent superiority, breaking the Russian and then holding serve to go 2-0 up for the loss of just two points. It would be quite a surprise if Sharapova, a Russian, were not one of the 32 seeds at the French Open, the next major tournament, which begins in Paris in May. Kerber kept her off balance as a rule and countered her flat power effectively when Sharapova was able to deliver groundstrokes from more solid platforms.
Kerber said Fissette was her first choice, and they are now off to a flying start.
"We've played each other a lot in the past and I know I will have to play my best tennis again". "This is a process".
Chung Hyeon is 2-0 against the Zverev family this week at Melbourne Park.
"I think now I'm much stronger (mentally)", the 26-year- old told reporters. I'll have to bring it. She has won 12 straight matches to start the season: four of them unofficial at the Hopman Cup team event and eight of them on tour.
The German made only seven unforced errors in the 64-minute contest and, on the court celebrated victory with the look of a woman who firmly believes she is back in business.
"Angie is already one step ahead of everybody else because nobody else knows what it's like to win a Grand Slam", said the Australian Rennae Stubbs, a television analyst and former player.
Sharapova has played fewer than 30 matches since she returned from a doping ban nine months ago, and looks as if she needs more time on court to become a genuine contender again.
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