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Sharapova sent packing in Australian Open

Sharapova sent packing in Australian Open

No. 23 Gilles Muller outlasted Malek Jaziri in five sets, Kyle Edmund had a straight-sets win over Denis Istomin - who beat then defending-champion Novak Djokovic in the second round here previous year - and No. 28 Damir Dzumhur beat John Millman.

Ferrell has taken centre stage during the Australian Open in Melbourne, including interviewing Federer after the Swiss maestro's first-round win over Aljaz Bedene on Tuesday.

Sharapova is playing here for the first time since serving a 15-month doping ban for testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open. Suarez Navarro advanced on her third match point when the 22-year-old Estonian player hit a forehand long.

Kerber's year-end ranking dropped from No. 1 in 2016 to 21 a year ago, when she failed to defend her Australian or U.S. Open titles.

"I finished the U.S. Open and I was exhausted", she said.

"I gave her the confidence by making a lot of errors on the return games", Sharapova said. I thought she played very aggressive.

"I think she played extremely well", Sharapova summed it up. This is a process.

Sharapova, who last made a Grand Slam final in 2015 here in Melbourne, admitted that in her time away during the suspension, it was tough to maintain her competitive balance because of the lack of actual matches. "Today was not enough (but). looking at the overall picture, there's a lot to build from".

Flying under the radar, the 17th seed has surrendered just 16 games on her way to the fourth round after beating Romania's Ana Bogdan 6-3, 6-4.

The final set lasted 142 minutes before Halep finally served out the match at the fourth attempt. That was in contract to Halep's 4-6, 6-4, 15-13 win in 3 hours and 45 minutes over American Lauren Davis.

Sharapova was facing the biggest test of her comeback as the pattern continued at the start of the second.

"I'm just so happy it's 2018 and not 2017 anymore", the German exclaimed during the courtside interview after scoring a fluent, and dominant, 6-1, 6-3 win over Maria Sharapova on Saturday evening.

"Obviously for me, it's taking it one match at a time. I really do believe that I can, otherwise I wouldn't be here", said the five-time Grand Slam champion after losing 1-6, 3-6 in 64 minutes.

"The most important thing is that I could play my game not thinking about the ankle".

Kerber, who defeated Donna Vekic 6-4 6-1, said: "We both played in the past a lot of good matches". No. 20 Barbora Strycova beat U.S. qualifier Bernarda Pera 6-2, 6-2, leaving U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys as the only American woman to reach the fourth round.

Defending champion Federer was never troubled by France's Richard Gasquet, who has failed to take a set off him since 2011, as he steamed into the last 16 with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win. The German is 12-0 this year if you count the Hopman Cup exhibition and claiming her first WTA title of the year at Sydney. But, like I said on court, I would back myself playing during the daytime also. She missed the Australian Open past year while recovering from a knife attack that easily could have derailed her career.

Djokovic tweaked his service motion while recovering from an injured right elbow, and used it to good effect in a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win over Donald Young.

Gasquet is famed for his one-handed backhand, and his skills in saving a match point were appreciated by Federer, who next faces unseeded Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.

Djokovic will next face Hyeon Chung, who took out a Zverev for the second time this week. French eighth seed Caroline Garcia came through in three sets 6-3 5-7 6-2 against Belarus' Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Another unexpected loss at a major had the highly-touted Zverev admitted he may have a problem.

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