Angelique Kerber and Maria Sharapova will face off in a show-stopping clash at the Australian Open after the two former winners breezed through their second round games. Serial champion Novak Djokovic is also through.
Angelique Kerber has set up a blockbuster clash with Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open after defeating Croatia's Donna Vekic 6-4, 6-1.
The German, who is looking to emulate her 2016 triumph, celebrated her 30th birthday with victory in one hour and 10 minutes.
Sharapova, who won the Australian Open in 2008, was equally impressive in beating 14th seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-1, 7-6.
The mouthwatering third-round clash will be highly anticipated, with Sharapova returning Down Under for the first time since being banned after a doping violation during the 2016 tournament.
"You know, it's another tough match here," Kerber said. "We both played in the past a lot of good matches. I'm looking forward to playing against her."
Elsewhere in the women's draw, world number one Simon Halep breezed into the third round, seeing off Eugenie Bouchard 6-2, 6-2.
And Briton Johanna Konta, ranked number 10 in the world, crashed out to world number 123 Bernarda Pera. Konta lost to the American in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5.
Big-hitters grab victories
In the men's draw, defending champion Roger Federer saw off Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6, 4-6, 6-7.Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem and Tomas Berdych also secured passage to the third round, while third seed Garbine Muguruza was knocked out by Taiwan's Hsieh Su-Wei.
Djokovic, who has won the Australian Open six times, said his comeback from an elbow injury is on track. “I’m not at 100% but building… I know what I’m capable of and coming back to this court is a special feeling,” he said after his win.
Germany young gun Alexander Zverev overcame compatriot Peter Gojowczyk 1-6, 3-6, 6-4, 3-6.
js/mp (AFP, DPA)