After the dress change, it seems, former champion, Maria Sharapova found an inspiration and thus put away unseeded American Lauren Davis 6-1 6-7 (5) 6-0 at the Australian Open, today and set up an intriguing fourth round match with rising Swiss talent Belinda Bencic.
Up 2-0 in the second set and closing in on victory, the Russian's serve crumbled, allowing Davis to reel off five consecutive games and eventually capture a tense second set tie break.
For a lengthy comfort break between sets, the fifth seed Sharapova left the court, but came back with a fresh outfit and a renewed focus, and proceeded to hunt the hapless American.
Without dropping a game, Sharapova bashed consecutive aces with her first two serves and closed the match, when her opponent, Lauren Davis swiped a backhand long.
“I don't have a chat in the mirror, I think I get fined for that," Sharapova said courtside of her trip to the locker-room. I changed my dress and felt a little bit lighter, which made me move better. But other than that, that's all I can share.”
On the tour, this is 600th time, for 28 year old Sharapova to win the game. She now faces, an inter-generational battle against 12th seed Bencic.
Long touted for big things, 18 year old Bencic was the first player into the round of 16, after fighting back from a set down, to overhaul Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko 4-6 6-2 6-4, in the earlier match, at Rod Laver Arena.
After outstripping her previous second round best at the tournament, Bencic even became the first Swiss woman to reach the 4th round at Melbourne Park, since Martina Hingis and Patty Schnyder in 2007.
By Phani Ch