Maria came from 4-1 down in the third set to defeat qualifier Alexandra Panova of Russia to advance to the third round of the Australian Open in Melbourne. Maria won 6-1 4-6 7-5 in two hours and 32 minutes.
Maria broke Panova’s serve three times throughout the first set as she won the set 6-1 in only 26 minutes. Maria hit 9 winners to Panova’s 2.
The second set started with Panova breaking Maria’s serve in the first game and she took a 5-2 lead. Maria came back by taking two successive games, but it wasn’t enough as Panova served out the set to force a decider.
The momentum continued to shift to Panova’s side of the court as she took a 4-1 lead in the third set. Maria got one break back in the sixth game. At 5-4, Panova stepped out to serve for the match, after a long deuce game, Maria finally prevailed to break the Russian saving two match points to level the set 5-5. Maria won her next service game and broke Panova to 30 to advance to the third round.
In Friday’s third round, Maria will play No.31 seed Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan. Maria has never played the 21-year-old before.