Dominika Cibulkova Maria Sharapova Australian Open
Dominika Cibulkova celebrates after defeating Maria Sharapova in the fourth round of the Australian Open. Reuters

A day after the favourite Serena Williams was knocked out of the Australian Open, Maria Sharapova became the latest high-profile victim in the women's draw, with Dominika Cibulkova slaying the Russian giant in the fourth round.

Number three seed Sharapova looked in control after taking the first set, but Cibulkova, seeded 20, fought back admirably to seal a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory, adding to the upset victory of Ana Ivanovic over supreme favourite Williams on Sunday.

"I watched that match, it was a great match for Ana, but this was a little bit of a different story," Cibulkova said in a courtside interview.

"The most important thing was that I went on the court and I was 100 percent sure I could win this match. I wasn't doubting myself.

"I just kept going. I knew what I had to do and I was doing exactly the right things. The most important thing is to believe in yourself."

Sharapova seemed to be struggling with an injury during the match, calling for the trainer between the second and third set, and the Russian, who only recently came back from a long-term problem, later revealed she had a hip strain.

"I have a bit of a strain the trainer told me in the hip area," the 2008 Australian Open champion said. "I mean, those aches and pains are expected when you spend a long time on the court. Just have to play through it.

"I think it was just because I played a lot. This is only my second tournament back, so it was those types of things that are expected. Just have to find a way to block them out."

Sharapova, who acknowledged she had not been at her best in the opening Grand Slam of the year, also admitted Cibulkova had been the better player on the day, with the Slovakian taking full toll of the chances presented to her.

"I haven't been playing the best tennis of this tournament, but I found ways to get through to the last two matches," she added. "Tried to do that again today, but she played extremely well.

"I think it's a success in terms of that I'm back and that I'm healthy. That's quite important. Otherwise I wouldn't give myself a chance to play.

"So on that note, I have to look at the positives and see where I have come from in four or five months. I haven't played a lot of tennis in those six months.

"So I certainly would have loved to play a little bit more before playing a Grand Slam, but this is the chance that I was given. I'm smart enough to be able to take it and acknowledge that I'm still pretty lucky to be in the draw and giving myself a chance to try to win it."

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