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Inconsistent Maria Sharapova into fourth round at Australian Open

Saturday, 18 January 2014 - 8:10am IST | Agency: Reuters

  • AFP

Maria Sharapova ran hot and cold before overcoming 25th-seed Alize Cornet 6-1 7-6(6) on Saturday to advance to the fourth round of the Australian Open. The world number three, who had spent almost 3-1/2 hours on court in sweltering conditions on Thursday, found the conditions on Saturday much more agreeable.

Temperatures dropped from 43 Celsius (109 Fahrenheit) during the week to 22C (72F) and the Russian quickly found her rhythm on Rod Laver Arena, dictating play to take the first set in 32 minutes.

Cornet appeared to be limping and favouring her left ankle between points in the second set but errors began to creep into 2008 champion Sharapova's game. Cornet broke her serve three times and saved a match point in the ninth game before Sharapova scraped to an 8-6 victory in the tie-break to seal the match.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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