Sunday September 22nd, 2019 2:32PM

Sharapova, Wozniacki to meet in 3rd round at Australia Open

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A side effect of not playing much for Maria Sharapova is the likelihood of having to face highly ranked rivals in the first week of a major.

It doesn't come much tougher in the third round than a match against the defending champion.

That's the equation at the Australian Open after Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki beat Swedish players in straight sets on the same court — technically on different days.

The third-ranked Wozniacki had a 6-1, 6-3 win over Johanna Larsson to finish the day session on Margaret Court Arena before the sun went down. No. 30 Sharapova finished off Rebecca Peterson 6-2, 6-1 a half-hour past midnight, having waited for a five-set men's match to finish.

"It'll be a tough one but I've set up the challenge — willing to go out there and take it," Sharapova told the crowd, after reminding them it was well past her bed time.

Sharapova leads 6-4 in career head-to-heads, but they haven't played each other since 2015 and Wozniacki has won both previous times they have met at Grand Slams — in the fourth round of the U.S. Open in 2010 and 2014.

Both players have been ranked No. 1, but Sharapova has won five Grand Slam titles, including two as a teenager. She won the Australian Open in 2008 and has reached the final at Melbourne Park three other times — all before Wozniacki won her first major title.

Still, she hasn't been past the quarterfinals of a major since returning at the 2017 U.S. Open after an absence of more than 1½ years because of a doping ban.

It's a run she's determined to rectify.

Asked if Wozniacki was the favorite to win, Sharapova chose her words carefully in response: "I mean, relatively speaking on paper, if you're looking at numbers, yeah, absolutely."

But while Sharapova concedes favoritism based on rankings, and that Wozniacki is more confident now that she's won a major title, she's got credentials that outweigh her seeding.

She didn't play after a fourth-round exit at the U.S. Open last September in order to give her problematic right shoulder a rest. And she retired during a quarterfinal match at a warmup event in Shenzhen, China, as a precaution against any further injury.

"If I'm looking at the past season, I only played 11 tournaments. What I really wanted was matches," she said. "Yeah, I want to be playing the top players. When you're 30 in the world, 31, whatever I am right now, I'm going to be facing a top player in the third round. That's the way the seeding goes.

"What I need, I need to be able to set myself up for the next round, and the next round is against Wozniacki."


More AP Tennis: and

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Tennis, AP Sports - Women's Tennis
© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Robert Durst murder trial set for September in Los Angeles
New York real estate heir Robert Durst has been scheduled to go on trial in late summer on charges of killing a friend in Los Angeles nearly two decades ago
10:47AM ( 2 minutes ago )
Colorism reveals many shades of prejudice in Hollywood
The breakthrough representation of minorities in Hollywood blockbusters has revived a frequently overlooked discussion about colorism
10:41AM ( 8 minutes ago )
Iran state TV's English channel says anchorwoman held in US
Iran's English-language arm of state TV says its American-born anchorwoman was arrested after flying into US
10:39AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Big flex: Youngsters Tiafoe, Fritz stun seeds in Australia
20-something Americans Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz upset seeded players at the Australian Open to get to the third round in Melbourne for the first time
9:06AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Sharapova sets up 3rd round against Wozniacki
Maria Sharapova sets up third-round showdown with defending champion Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open after 6-2, 6-1 win over Rebecca Peterson of Sweden
8:52AM ( 1 hour ago )
Report: Turkey seeks warrant for NBA player Enes Kanter
Turkish prosecutors are seeking an international arrest warrant for New York Knicks player Enes Kanter, accusing him of membership in a terror organization
8:29AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
The Latest: Birrell beats Vekic, into 3rd round in Australia
Australian wildcard entry Kimberly Birrell has had an upset 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 win over No. 29-seeded Donna Vekic to reach the third round of the Australian Open
2:54AM ( 7 hours ago )
The Latest: American Fritz beats Monfils, next faces Federer
Taylor Fritz outlasted 30th-seeded Gael Monfils in a 3-hour, 24-minute second-round match at the Australian Open and it was all for the right to play defending champion Roger Federer next
2:29AM ( 8 hours ago )
The Latest: 2018 champion Wozniacki advances at Aussie Open
Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki has advanced to the third round of the only Grand Slam tournament she's won, beating Johanna Larsson 6-1, 6-3 at Melbourne Park
2:02AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Online Tennis
The Latest: Tsitsipas through to Australian Open 3rd round
Stefanos Tsitsipas is through to the third round and closer to a potential meeting with defending champion Roger Federer at Melbourne Park
10:15PM ( 12 hours ago )
The Latest: Stephens through to Australian Open 3rd round
Sloane Stephens has advanced to the third round at Melbourne Park with a 6-3, 6-1 win over her former junior doubles partner Timea Babos
8:58PM ( 13 hours ago )
The Latest: New partner for Mattek-Sands at Aussie Open
Bethanie Mattek-Sand is teaming up with Demi Schuurs at the Australian Open after her longtime doubles partner Lucie Safarova retired at the end of last year
8:23PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Sports - Women's Tennis
Iran state TV's English channel says anchorwoman held in US
Iran's English-language arm of state TV says its American-born anchorwoman was arrested after flying into US
10:39AM ( 11 minutes ago )
The Latest: Dem says EPA's Wheeler 'as extreme' as Pruitt
A top Senate Democrat is describing President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency as "just as extreme" as his predecessor, Scott Pruitt
10:36AM ( 13 minutes ago )
White House denounces Rep. King's white supremacy remarks
The White House is describing comments by Republican Rep. Steve King about white supremacy as "abhorrent."
10:32AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Trump feels shutdown pressure from economists, Nancy Pelosi
Shutdown pressure mounted at the White House Wednesday, as Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on President Donald Trump to delay his State of the Union address
10:29AM ( 21 minutes ago )
US military says American troops killed in Syria blast
U.S. military says a number of service members have been killed in an explosion while conducting a routine patrol in Syria
10:24AM ( 26 minutes ago )