Maria Sharapova took over two hours to defeat Swiss teen Belinda Bencic 7-5, 7-5 under the roof of the Rod Laver Arena. Maria also established a personal record of 21 aces in a match, and that makes Maria the tournament leader with 52 aces.
In the first set, Maria had break points in the first two service games of Bencic, all of them were saved. A doble fault handed the Swiss the first break of the match to lead 3-2. However, the lead didn’t last too much as it was followed by a run of four consecutive breaks. As Bencic served to force a tiebreak, an unforced error gave Maria the first set.
The second set was full of opportunities for Maria, but the young Swiss wasn’t going to give in that easily. Once again Bencic found herself serving to stay in the match as the Russian lead 6-5.
Maria had a match point on Bencic’s serve, which she failed to capitalized after dumping a backhand into the bottom of the net. In her second match point, Sharapova responded with an amazing return which was called out, but the Russian wasn’t convinced and a challenge confirmed her pass to the quarterfinals.
In the next round Maria will face No. 1 Serena Williams.