Rampaging Sharapova sets up mouth-watering Wozniacki clash

Getting to Know Danielle Collins

Their rivalry fuelled by a mutual feeling of animosity off the court, Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki contested an enthralling Australian Open third-round match today that rolled back the years.

Defending champion Roger Federer beat Dan Evans 3-0 (7-6, 7-6, 6-3) on Wednesday, Anadolu Agency reports.

The Swiss star secured a 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 victory over the United States' Taylor Fritz.

Fifth seed Sloane Stephens battled to a 7-6 (8/6) 7-6 (7/5) victory over Petra Martic while American Danielle Collins reached the fourth round at a slam for the first time with a 6-3 6-2 win against 19th seed Caroline Garcia. The third round could potentially be another clash against Maria Sharapova if the Russian gets past Rebecca Peterson.

But Sharapova, who once famously summed up her attitude as "I'm not here to make friends", said she would not let the crowd affect her.

In a clash of former world number one players, the five-times Grand Slam victor will next meet Dane Wozniacki, who eased past Johanna Larsson 6-1 6-3 earlier in the day.

"I just, we are just playing, we are on tour. I knew it would be a tough match", said the 2008 champion, who has been in sizzling form at the tournament as she chases her first Slam title since Roland Garros in 2014. The Russian leads head to head meetings 6-4, but they last faced each other in 2015 WTA Madrid.

"I thought I started off pretty well, I started off very aggressively, I served really well, " Wozniacki said.

"I think he improved a lot during the last three years".

"I have to be out there and play my best in the next match and that's really it".

Following the win over Wozniacki, Sharapova immediately turned her attention to the Australian top seed who booked her spot in the fourth round with a straight-sets win over Maria Sakkari. "One day you win, some days you lose", the Dane said.

Sharapova produced just two double faults in the opening set, but rattled off three in her opening service game as Wozniacki won two games on the bounce to provide the ideal response to dropping the opener.

The 20-year-old American beat 34-year-old Andreas Seppi 6-7 (3), 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Court 3, where matches began 2 1-2 hours late because of morning rain. The victor plays either Maria Sakkari or Ashleigh Barty in the fourth round.

Wozniacki refused to blame the loss on the rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis she revealed during the off season, which sometimes leaves her so exhausted it is hard to move.

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