Sharapova, Cibulkova and Jankovic reach last 16 of Australian Open

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3rd seeded Maria Sharapova played 25th seeded Alize Cornet in the first match on Rod Laver Arena on Saturday in conditions about 20 ° cooler than on previous days. After having played the longest match of her professional career against Karin Knapp in the second round, she raced through the first set in just 32 minutes with the loss of only one game. Her massive groundies hit the lines time and again to leave Cornet stranded. In the second set Cornet came out with a new face on and held her opening game. She then broke the Russian in the in the 4th game to be in the lead for the first time in the match, but Sharapova took the next four games to lead 5-3 with a chance to serve out the set. Cornet upped her game and broke back for 4-5 but, with Sharapova serving again for the set, Cornet fought off a match point for the game and then broke again to level at 5-5, followed by a break each  until Sharapova eventually won 8-6 to end a scrappy second set. Statistics show that the Russian hit 35 winners and an equal number of unforced errors, together with 8 doubles.

The Slovak Pocket Rocket, 20th seeded Dominika Cibulkova, won her first round match against Francesca Schiavone 6-3 6-4 and then lost only one game in seeing off Stephanie Vogele in the second round. Her 3rd round opponent was 16th seeded Carla Suarez Navarro who won her first match in straights but battled through a marathon 7-6 (2) 3-6 8-6 to defeat Galina Voskoboeva in the 2nd round. Cibulkova repeated her second round feat against the Spaniard, again losing only one game to move into the last 16.

8th seeded Jelena Jankovic had only lost five games in her first two rounds when she took on 74th ranked Kurumi Nara, who won in three in her first round and in straights in her second match. In a closely fought match, the Serb took the first set 6-4 in 43 minutes and then came from a break down in the second to seal the set at 7-5 to move in the 4th round.


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