Maria Sharapova at 2012 Australian OpenMaria Sharapova let's loose after sealing her third-round win against Angelique Kerber. Picture: Alex Coppel Source: Herald Sun
MARIA Sharapova is through to the last 16 at the Australian Open.
The 2008 champion held off a second-set fightback by 30th-seeded German Angelique Kerber to win their third-round match 6-1 6-2.
Kerber levelled the second set at 2-2 after trailing 2-0, but the Russian proved too strong, breaking back to seal victory after one hour and 27 minutes.
"Yeah, this one became pretty tough in the second set. She certainly stepped it up, got that break back, got more confidence, started going for her shots," Sharapova said after the match.
The 24-year-old said she was nearing top form after a limited lead-in to the year's first grand slam.
"Sometimes you have to be realistic in terms of knowing that your level might not be exactly where you'd want it to be in the first round and you're going to be a bit rusty," she said.
"But ultimately you have enough experience, you certainly played enough matches, it's just about hopefully getting through this one, getting better."
Sharapova next plays the winner of this afternoon's clash between No.14 seed Sabine Lisicki and 18th-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova.