Australian Open: Superb Angelique Kerber glides past Maria Sharapova

Angelique Kerber won in the second round of Australian Open

Though this match may have shown how far Sharapova, now ranked 48th, still has to go to get back into Grand Slam winning form, it also showed that Kerber is once again playing incredibly well and is undoubtedly a huge contender for the title this year.

Kerber - who won her first major title at the 2016 Open - proved too good for Croatia's Donna Vekic and won 6-4 6-1.

Chung beat fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev 5-7, 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in the third round on Rod Laver Arena.

Sharapova will leave Melbourne with some positive takeaways.

When a backhand return victor brought up a break point and a trademark yell of "C'mon!" from Sharapova, you thought she might be on the point of turning the match on its head.

The 21st seed obliterated Sharapova in the first set, and while the Russian looked like offering some resistance in the second, she faded right at the end.

It will be a meeting of the only two former champions in the women's draw, with Sharapova lifting the trophy a decade ago while Kerber was the victor in 2016.

Defending champion Roger Federer continued his dominance over Richard Gasquet to reach the round of 16 at the Australian Open on Saturday and keep his quest for a 20th Grand Slam title on track.

Halep has been travelling under the radar somewhat at Melbourne Park as she works her way towards a maiden Grand Slam title.

"I look forward to these matches".

A fluffed drop shot attempt at 3-4 followed by an unforced error gave 2016 champion Kerber breathing space and she finished the contest in the next game.

"I had a really tough off-season and I was working hard to be here and playing against the best players".

"Happy to be playing tennis again like 2016, " said Kerber, who planned an ice bath before a relaxed dinner out in Melbourne to mark the occasion. "I just think the double-hander is easier".

But there will be no Konta, who lost 6-4, 7-5 to world No 123 Croatian-American Bernarda Pera.

The pair of of former world No.1s will meet in the round of 32 on Saturday, with reigning French Open champ Jelena Ostapenko the only other woman still alive in the women's draw to have won a grand slam crown.

Halep will next play Naomi Osaka, who beat 18th-seeded Ash Barty 6-4, 6-2.

Keys advanced 6-3, 6-4 over Ana Bogdan and will next play No. 8 Caroline Garcia. "Don't know if (winning) is going to happen this year, but so far, so good".

Another loss at a major had the highly-touted Zverev admitting he may have a problem.

Also advancing were 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, No. 19 Tomas Berdych, No. 25 Fabio Fognini, No. 26 Adrian Mannarino and Chung Hyeon.

"I just feel that my muscles are gone".

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