Melbourne: Maria Sharapova overcame a brief lapse which cost her the second set before storming through for a 6-1, 6-7 (5-7), 6-0 win over Lauren Davis to reach the second week of the Australian Open on Friday.
A change of clothing after losing the second may have made all the difference for Sharapova on the way to her 600th Tour win: "I changed my dress and felt a little bit lighter which made me move better. But other than that, that's all I can share," Sharapova joked.
The five-time grand slam winner was joined in the fourth round on a day of rain which meant closure of all three showcourt roofs at Melbourne Park by Swiss 12th seed Belinda Bencic, who also needed a recovery to defeat Kateryna Bondarenko of the Ukraine 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Sharapova encountered unexpected difficulties from number 103 Davis, with the Russian fifth seed handing over a set point in the second set with one error and dropping the set with a second one as Davis won her fifth straight game after 77 minutes.
The opening set had been another story, with last year's finalist and the 2008 champion losing only two points in serve.
Sharapova and Bencic will pit current and future women's tennis against each other for the first time, with the teenaged Swiss coming in a full decade younger than her opponent.
Bencic had to work to recover in the second set against tennis mother Bondarenko, who left the circuit to have a child in 2013 but said that "boredom" brought her back to the sport.
Bencic called her win "a hard piece of work for me. What I did in the first set wasn't enough, so I knew I had to play much better in the second and third sets.
"I still tried to believe even though it wasn't perfect in the first set," Bencic said after advancing in two hours on a third match point.
In men's play, Japanese seventh seed Kei Nishikori got past Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 despite nursing a wrist problem.
"It was a little bit sore in the beginning, but after treatment it was fine. I'm sure it's going to be OK. It was a really tough match with many long rallies.
"I start playing much better in the third and fourth. I tried to dictate little more, tried to step in and use more forehands, and I think I was able to come in many times today."
Belgian 15th seed David Goffin defeated friend and training partner Dominic Thiem, with the Austrian losing 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-5.
Thiem admitted: "Match conditions were totally different under the roof, I tried but a combination of the large stadium and his game were too much."
Published Date: Jan 22, 2016 05:10 pm | Updated Date: Jan 22, 2016 05:11 pm