Former champions Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber meet in what is expected to be a blockbuster third-round women's singles clash of Australian Open 2018 at Rod Laver Arena on Saturday, January 20.
Sharapova and Kerber will resume their long-standing rivalry in their first meeting since April 2015. The latter leads her lower-ranked opponent 4-3 when it comes to head-to-head meetings, having won their last two meetings.
A lot of hype is there around the upcoming fixture as both the tennis stars are looking to get back among the elite of women's singles tennis in their comeback runs.
World number 48 Sharapova is playing only her second Grand Slam tournament on return from drug ban. The Russian superstar, who won her only title on her comeback run in Tianjin last year, feels she can produce consistent results in the coming days.
"I am more comfortable at the net than I was. I have added a little bit more variety to my game. I still feel like the basics of my game can improve from when I have come back. I think I can be more consistent," Sharapova, who defeated Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova in the second round, was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.
She added: "I look forward to these matches. I want to be playing against opponents that are former Grand Slam champions. She's had success here ... I want to see where I am on that level."
On the other hand, Kerber has enjoyed a terrific run in 2018, winning 11 matches on the trot, which includes a title at Sydney International.
The German has managed to shrug off the disappointment of a poor 2016, in which she slipped from the top spot on WTA rankings to below 20. Notably, the title in Sydney earlier this month was her first since the 2016 US Open title.
Kerber though acknowledges she has to be at her best to beat Sharapova, who is looking hungrier than ever for success.
"It is another tough match. I will have to play my best tennis. I am just looking more about me, like how I will prepare, just playing my game from the first point," Kerber said.
When is the match and how to watch it online
The third round women's singles match between Angelique Kerber and Maria Sharapova will be played at the Rod Laver Arena from 7pm local time, 1:30pm IST.
Live streaming and TV coverage
India: TV: Sony Six; Live streaming: Sony Liv
Australia: TV: Channel Seven; Live streaming: 7plus
US: TV: ESPN; Live streaming: Watch ESPN
UK: TV: Eurosport, BBC; Live streaming: Watch Eurosport
Switzerland: TV: SSR, SRG
Canada: TV: TSN
Africa: TV: BeIN Sports
Singapore and South East Asia: TV: Fox Sports
New Zealand: TV: Sky Sport
Japan: TV: NHK, WOWOW