Maria Sharapova vs. Aliza Cornet opened Saturday’s third-round action at the Australian Open and when their first set finished it seemed that the highest-ranked Frenchwoman would be no challenge for the four-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova, as Cornet managed to win just one game in the first set, breaking Sharapova for 1-4. The battle heated up in the second set of this match played in cooler weather conditions and the 25th-seeded Cornet broke her opponent’s serve for a 3-1 lead, but Sharapova broke straight back and earned a match point at 5-3. Cornet returned for 5-5 and 6-6, before Sharapova finally finished the encounter in a tiebreak 6-1 7-6(6). In the second set Sharapova hit six double faults and only 52% of her first serves went in. Not every opponent will tolerate that.
Next for the third-seeded Sharapova is seed No.20 Dominika Cibulkova, who crushed seed No.16 Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1 6-0, recording 10 times more winners than the Spaniard, 20 to 2! (photo: © Neal Trousdale)