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Gritty Sharapova battles past error-prone Azarenka

Gritty Sharapova battles past error-prone Azarenka
The 27-year old Russian appeared to be ready to close out the third round match in the eighth game of the second set but two-time Australian Open winner Azarenka decided she wasn’t going down without a fight. Azarenka saved four match points in the eighth game of the final set and another in the ninth before finally succumbing on a Sharapova cross-court backhand that she clobbered into the net.

Sharapova moves into the last 16 where she will square off against defending champion Flavia Pennetta of Italy. Monday’s third round centre court clash between two former world number ones in the California desert tournament was a rematch of the 2012 Indian Wells final which was won by Azarenka. They have met 14 times with each winning seven but Sharapova has now won the last three contests.

Djokovic advances
Meanwhile in the men’s section, world no. 1 Novak Djokovic had to contend with adversity before advancing to the fourth round. Djokovic, the top seed in the elite ATP Masters 1000 event, was broken twice in his opening set against Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas before advancing 7-5, 6-3 in an evening match lasting just under an hour and a half. Djokovic won a topsy-turvy opening set that featured five service breaks. The Serb failed to hold in the first game before breaking back in the sixth and eighth, but was surprisingly broken again in the ninth when serving for the set at 5-3.

Though Ramos-Vinolas fought back to level 5-5, Djokovic held to love before breaking again in the 12th game. The second set went with serve until a protracted eighth game which the Serb won when Ramos-Vinolas blasted a low forehand wide. Djokovic then served out to love in the ninth game to seal victory.
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