Sharapova re-dresses for success to reach fourth round

Fri Jan 22, 2016 2:28am EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Former champion Maria Sharapova found inspiration in a change of dress to put away unseeded American Lauren Davis 6-1 6-7(5) 6-0 at the Australian Open on Friday 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 tiebreak.

Fifth seed Sharapova left the court for a lengthy comfort break between sets but re-emerged with a fresh outfit and a renewed focus, and proceeded to hammer the hapless American.

Bashing consecutive aces with her first two serves, Sharapova roared through without dropping a game, closing out the match when her 103rd-ranked opponent 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."

The win was 28-year-old Sharapova's 600th on tour and the five-time grand slam champion now faces an inter-generational battle against teenager Bencic.

"Yeah, an impressive player," said Sharapova. "A newer generation that's already established herself in the past season, beaten a lot of top players.   Continued...

Russia's Maria Sharapova reacts as she hits a shot using her left hand during her third round match against Lauren Davis of the U.S. at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 22, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter