The Latest: American beats Konta in Aussie Open 2nd round

The Latest: American beats Konta in Aussie Open 2nd round

MELBOURNE, Australia/January 17, 2018 (AP)(STL.News) —The Latest on Thursday at the Australian Open (all times local):

12:45 p.m.

Former Australian Open semi finalist Johanna Konta has been knocked out of the tournament in the second round by American lucky loser Bernarda Pera 6-4, 7-5.

Pera, ranked No. 123, lost in the final round of qualifying and didn’t get into the main draw until Monday, when Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan withdrew with an injury. The 23-year-old Pera is making her Grand Slam debut.

Konta saved three match points in the ninth game of the second set, then broke Pera to level the set at 5-all. The American finally closed out the match on her fifth match point.

Pera was born in Croatia and moved to the U.S. when she was 16, deciding to represent the U.S. She is one of only four American women to reach the second round — the fewest number since 2011.

Konta ended last season on a four-match losing streak, including a first-round loss at the U.S. Open, while dealing with a foot injury. She then retired from a match at the season-opening Brisbane International with a hip injury.

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12:35 p.m.

Maria Sharapova has advanced to the third round, beating Anastasija Sevastova 6-1, 7-6 (4) as the temperatures began to rise at Melbourne Park.

With a forecast high of 39 Celsius (102 Fahrenheit), Sharapova appeared to be in a hurry to get off the Rod Laver Arena court, winning the first set in 23 minutes.

In the second set, Sharapova was broken while serving for the match, sending it to the tiebreaker which she dominated.

Sharapova is playing here for the first time since serving a 15-month doping ban for testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open. She lost to Sevastova at the U.S. Open last September in her return to Grand Slam tennis.

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11:05 a.m.

Maria Sharapova was set to take on Anastasija Sevastova at the start of play Thursday on an expected day of scorching temperatures at the Australian Open.

The forecast was for temperatures approaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), and delays were likely on side courts if the tournament invokes its Extreme Heat Policy. Officials also have the option of closing the roofs on the three show courts, including Rod Laver Arena.

Sharapova is playing here for the first time since serving a 15-month doping ban after testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.

Wimbledon winner Garbine Muguruza, defending champion Roger Federer and six-time Australian winner Novak Djokovic were also scheduled to play their second-round matches Thursday.

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by Associated Press – published on STL.News by St. Louis Media, LLC (Z.S)

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