Sharapova sees off Lisicki
Maria Sharapova overcame Sabine Lisicki to set up a tasty fourth-round clash with Caroline Wozniacki at the US Open.
There was nothing pretty or straightforward about Sharapova's 6-2 6-4 victory, which took an hour and 41 minutes, but she was the tougher in the end under the lights on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court.
Lisicki had only won one of six previous meetings against Sharapova, at Wimbledon in 2012, but her big game means she is always a danger.
Last month the German hit a serve measured at 131mph, a world record for a woman.
Her radar was off in her first service game, though, with two double faults proving very costly as Sharapova ground her way into a 3-0 lead.
The Russian was coming under pressure in every service game but resisted impressively, and another Lisicki double fault eventually handed her the set.
Lisicki is known for her attacking style but she showed tremendous powers of defence to move 3-1 ahead in the second set.
However, Sharapova is the ultimate scrapper and she took advantage of a horrible drive volley from her opponent to level proceedings.
The Russian had the momentum now and set up a chance to serve for the match at 5-3 but back came Lisicki, who was certainly playing at a much higher level now.
The pair traded crunching forehands but in the end it was a forehand drilled just wide from Lisicki that handed Sharapova victory on her third match point.
The fifth seed said: "She was a really tough opponent, a very aggressive big server. I just tried to concentrate on my return. I wasn't serving as well as I wanted to.
"In the end it was a few points. I was happy I was able to break her."
Sharapova added she was hoping for a "goodnight hug" from boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov, who won his second-round match earlier.
Wozniacki has had an impressive summer and was very solid in a 6-3 6-2 victory over 18th seed Andrea Petkovic.
"I think every match I get into a better groove out there and I'm playing better," said the Dane. "It's nice to be through to the fourth round again.
"It's going to be another tough one, but I'm excited about it."