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Maria Sharapova advances to third round at Australian Open


Former Australian Open semifinalist Johanna Konta has been knocked out of the tournament in the second round by American lucky loser Bernarda Pera 6-4, 7-5.

Pera, ranked No. 123, lost in the final round of qualifying and didn’t get into the main draw until Monday, when Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan withdrew with an injury.

The 23-year-old Pera is making her Grand Slam debut. Konta saved three match points in the ninth game of the second set, then broke Pera to level the set at 5-all.

The American finally closed out the match on her fifth match point. Pera was born in Croatia and moved to the U.S. when she was 16, deciding to represent the U.S. She is one of only four American women to reach the second round — the fewest number since 2011.

Konta ended last season on a four-match losing streak, including a first-round loss at the U.S. Open, while dealing with a foot injury. She then retired from a match at the season-opening Brisbane International with a hip injury.

Maria Sharapova has advanced to the third round at the Australian Open, beating Anastasija Sevastova 6-1, 7-6 (4) as the temperatures began to rise at Melbourne Park.

With a forecast high of 39 Celsius (102 Fahrenheit), Sharapova appeared to be in a hurry to get off the Rod Laver Arena court, winning the first set in 23 minutes.

In the second set, Sharapova was broken while serving for the match, sending it to the tiebreaker which she dominated.

Sharapova is playing here for the first time since serving a 15-month doping ban for testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open. She lost to Sevastova at the U.S. Open last September in her return to Grand Slam tennis.



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