MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Maria Sharapova smacked a forehand winner — the sort she’s hit so many times, at so many key moments, over the years — to take control against defending champion Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open. Sharapova balled up her fists, shut her eyes, threw back her head and let out a yell.
She showed she’s ready to be a Grand Slam factor once again.
Sharapova grabbed the last four games to eliminate Wozniacki 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in nearly 2½ hours Friday and reach the fourth round at Melbourne Park, building the statement-making victory with aggressive groundstrokes that gave her a 37-10 edge in total winners.
“I haven’t played many matches in the last year, especially against top players,” Sharapova said. “And these are the kinds of matches I train for.”
She cut her 2018 season short in September because of problems with her surgically repaired right shoulder.