Maria Sharapova
Sharapova found Kerber too hot to handle on SaturdaySAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

Maria Sharapova's hopes of a title-winning return to the Australian Open were unceremoniously crushed by Angelique Kerber as the battle of the former champions ended 6-1 6-3 in the German's favour on Saturday, January 20.

The Rod Laver Arena evening clash between the only two grand slam winners left in the women's draw had the feel of a showpiece final rather than a third-round clash but it was Kerber who rose to the occasion.

Sharapova, back in Melbourne after testing positive for a banned substance here in 2016 resulting in a 15-month ban, had looked menacing in the opening two rounds.

But Kerber, who plummeted down the rankings last year after finishing the year before at number one, broke her serve in the first game of the match and that set the tone for what followed.

She streaked away with the first set and although 2008 champion Sharapova briefly threatened a fightback after falling behind in the second, it was not to be the Russian's night.

A fluffed drop shot attempt at 3-4 followed by an unforced error gave 2016 champion Kerber breathing space and she finished the contest in the next game.

Alexander Zverev stunned!

Hyeon Chung
Hyeon Chung stunned Alexander Zverev in five sets on SaturdayQuinn Rooney/Getty Images

South Korean Hyeon Chung does not appear especially intimidating with his Zen-like demeanour and white-framed spectacles but as German wunderkind Alexander Zverev will testify, the 21-year-old should come with a health warning.

Fourth seed Zverev went into their Australian Open third-round clash of rising stars as favourite and with many tipping him as a potential winner of the tournament.

Despite winning the first and third sets with some stunning tennis, however, the 20-year-old could not shake off the relentless Chung and ended up caving in 5-7 7-6(3) 2-6 6-3 6-0.

Zverev was a broken man by the time the deciding set began and Chung needed just 23 minutes to put him out of his misery and become just the third South Korean to progress to the fourth round of a grand slam.

Simona Halep wins marathon thriller

A courageous Simona Halep overcame three match points and throbbing ankle pain to edge out Lauren Davis 4-6 6-4 15-13 in a thrilling third round marathon earlier today.

The world number one fought back from the brink at 11-10 in the epic deciding set before finally serving out the contest on her fourth attempt after a taxing three hours and 44 minutes at Rod Laver Arena.

She sealed the win on her first match point when 76th-ranked Davis fired a forehand into the tramlines, as the hard-hitting American coughed up a mind-boggling 73rd unforced error.

A shattered Halep declared herself "almost dead" in the wake of a 142-minute deciding set featuring more twists than the Transfagarasan mountain highway in her native Romania.