Sharapova gets patience test with Melbourne set to sizzle

2018 Australian Open first round preview Tatjana Maria vs Maria Sharapova

Defending champion Roger Federer cooly swept into the Australian Open third round Thursday as Novak Djokovic survived a gruelling fitness test under the brutal Melbourne sun.

This week the heat has been gradually building and it touched 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), with even worse forecast for Friday.

Kerber has turned over a new leaf in a number of ways, parting ways with long-time coach Torben Beltz in November, the man who guided her to two grand slam titles and the world number one ranking in 2016 during an eight-year partnership.

But as his health deteriorated the Serbian worked his way back into the contest and emerged with a 4-6 6-3 6-1 6-3 victory.

"I practice with him so I had the information I needed", he said, adding that the heat doesn't bother him.

Twelve-time Grand Slam victor Novak Djokovic is also in action, amid reports he is leading a push to create an independent players union to fight for even more prize money. In contrast, Struff has failed to get further than the second round ever, at any Grand Slam.

“I did my job in two sets against someone thats been troubling in the past for me, ” Sharapova said.

Regardless, won today, beating Monfils, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.

"I'm still not 100 percent, but building".

The heat took its toll on a host of players, including Wimbledon champion Muguruza, who suffered from heat-blistered feet.

Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza is out of the Australian Open after being beaten 7-6 (1), 6-4 by Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan in the second round.

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In other matches, fourth seed Alexander Zverev plays fellow German Peter Gojowczyk and 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka continues his comeback from a lengthy injury lay off against Tennys Sandgren.

The 24-year-old Thiem was staring down the barrel of a second-round boilover at the hands of the Kudla, ranked No.190 in the world, but found another gear to score a 6-7 (6-8) 3-6 6-3 6-2 6-3 win on Margaret Court Arena.

The five-time grand slam champion lost to Sevastova at the US Open a year ago and won a tight thriller in Beijing, leaving her pleased with a much more convincing victory on a hot day in Melbourne. But not this time.

British media said the Serbian 12-time Grand Slam victor, president of the ATP Tour player council, had raised the subject at a mandatory player meeting in Melbourne on Friday. Obviously, you don't know how you're going to start off.

So prior to their Melbourne Park rematch, former champion Sharapova said she was primed and ready for another drawn out dog-fight against the 14th seed.

Sharapova's long absence from the tour means she isn't seeded in Melbourne, but that doesn't bother her.

Former No. 1-ranked Kerber, the 2016 Australian Open champion, continued her resurgent run with a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Anna-Lena Friedsam to extend her streak to 10 consecutive wins.

“I could have done things better, ” she said, “but at the end, she deserves to win.”.

According to the Daily Mail newspaper, which first reported the meeting on Monday, Djokovic was said to have asked all non-players to leave the room and then gave a lengthy speech from the stage about forming a players' union, accompanied by an Australian lawyer.

Unsafe sixth seed Karolina Pliskova also went through, dropping just two games against Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Djokovic goes forward to a third-round meeting with either 21st seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas or American Tim Smyczek.

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