Australian Open 2014: Maria Sharapova vows to ‘step it up’

Australian Open 2014: Maria Sharapova admits she must improve after a 6-1 7-6 victory over Alize Cornet in third round

Australian Open 2014: Maria Sharapova vows to ‘step it up’

Maria Sharapova admitted that she needs to raise her game after the Russian battled past France’s Alize Cornet to book her place in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

The 2008 champion sealed her progress after a 6-1 7-6 victory over 25th seed Cornet, hitting 34 winners and making 67 unforced errors in a mixed performance.

I definitely need to step it up – every player will need to raise their game

Maria Sharapova

And Sharapova, who came through an energy-sapping three hour 27 minute second-round tie ahead of facing Cornet, acknowledged that she must improve.

“She started playing better when I gave her some chances,” said Sharapova. “After my last match I’m just glad to be through and have another day to recover.

“I definitely need to step it up – every player will need to raise their game.”

Elsewhere, two-time defending champion Victoria Azarenka set up a rematch with Sloane Stephens after a 6-1 6-0 win against Yvonne Meusburger.

“I think I was improving from match to match and I’m happy with the way I played today,” said Azarenka.

“I just want to improve every day and I’m looking forward to my next match.”

Azarenka battled past Stephens in the Australia Open semi-finals last year, and the American, seeded 13th, is relishing the encounter.

“It was a tough match – obviously semis of a Grand Slam, it was pretty intense,” Stephens said after a 7-5 6-4 victory over Eline Svitolina.

“But last year has nothing to do with this year. It’s a totally different year. A lot of things have happened.

“I’ve been playing well and I’m just looking forward to getting back on the court.”

Finally, 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki was beaten 4-6 7-5 6-3 by Garbine Muguruza.

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