Maria battles through in Australia

Maria is through to the third round of the Australian Open in Melbourne after she battled past Karin Knapp of Italy. Maria won 6-3 4-6 10-8 in three hours and 28 minutes.

Knapp got the first break of the first set to lead 2-1. Maria immediately broke in the next game as Knapp hit a forehand into the net. Maria got another break to lead 4-2 with a backhand winner. In the final game of the set, Knapp hit a shot into the net as Maria wrapped up the set 6-3 in 43 minutes.

In the second set, Maria broke first to lead 2-1 when Knapp double-faulted. Knapp instantly broke back in the next game to level the set 2-2. Both players continued to hold their service games until Knapp broke in the final game as Knapp took the set 6-4 in 50 minutes.

After the second set there was a ten minute break due to the extreme heat. Three breaks of serve started the marathon set as neither player could take advantage. Maria got another break to lead 4-3 and at 5-4 was serving for the set. In that game, Maria had four matchpoints but couldn’t take any of them as Knapp broke with a lucky netcord. Both players battled on in the extreme heat and both held their serves until Maria got the crucial break to lead 9-8. In the final game of the set, Maria served three double-faults and faced a break point, but produced a spectacular inside out winner to take it to deuce. Two consecutive pinpoint serves proved too good for Knapp as Maria advanced to the third round.

In Saturday’s third round match, Maria will face no.25 seed Alize Cornet of France. Maria has played Cornet once before in Stuttgart in 2012 and Maria won 6-3 1-0 when Cornet retired with an injury.