Maria Sharapova quizzed over 7 MINUTE loo break at Australian Open

Tanya Simon
January 20, 2019

"She's an absolute champion and she was never, ever going to go away".

Backing up after ending Caroline Wozniacki's title defence in the third round, Sharapova repeatedly exceeded the 25 seconds allowed between points while serving directly into the blazing midday sun.

It's an issue that is likely to linger for the rest of her career but Sharapova isn't yet ready to acknowledge that her grand slam tally will never grow beyond five, despite having not added one since the 2014 French Open. A four-time finalist at Melbourne Park, she recovered from 4-0 down in the deciding set, forcing Barty to serve it out, and saved three match points in the last game.

The Russian's astonishing collapse continued with another pair of double-faults which gifted Barty a 4-0 lead in the third set.

It took four match points and 2 hours, 22 minutes before Barty fended off Sharapova 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of a major for the first time, and becoming the first Australian woman since Jelena Dokic to reach the last eight at Melbourne Park.

She'll next play two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who beat 17-year-old American Amanda Anisimova 6-2, 6-1 to return to the Australian Open quarterfinals for the first time in seven years.

The reporter said: "I don't know".

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While she refused to give a response to the Meldonium question, Sharapova was less guarded when talking about the pain that she feels in her shoulder and its impact on her serve, which broke down badly in her loss to Barty.

She beat Kvitova in the second round of Indian Wells previous year and loomed as a threat to the Czech.

But there was no repeat on Rod Laver Arena as Kvitova came flying out of the blocks, breaking in the opening game.

Great attitude, great player, LOVE HER. Finally securing the victory with another ace on her fourth match point was simply inspiring. "I think she's a dark horse for the tournament for sure".

Asked about the crowd's reaction and whether it had affected her, Sharapova coldly responded: "What do you want me to say to that question?" "I've come agonisingly close against Petra before".

He next plays No. 2-seeded Rafael Nadal, the 17-time major victor who didn't let Tomas Berdych on the scoreboard for 1 ½ sets before finishing off a 6-0, 6-1, 7-6 (4) fourth-round win. "That kind of threw me off, because it was different from my other matches".

Whether she wins that and makes her first Slam semi-final in five years is still up in the air, but she has shown that she is still capable of producing her best tennis when it really matters.

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