Maria battles through to Melbourne 3rd Round

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 ┬áNo.31 seed Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan. Maria has never played the 21-year-old before.