Anastasija Sevastova sure has a knack for making matters difficult for Maria Sharapova.
Twice last year, the persistent Latvian – a woman enjoying a second stint on tour, after a premature retirement – gave the Russian star a hell of a time.
The ledger stood at one-apiece coming into their second-round Australian Open clash on Thursday.
And if anyone was pencilling in Sharapova’s name for the title in her chief slam tormentor Serena Williams’ absence, then she would do well to avoid yet another drawn-out struggle with Sevastova.
On a day where the mercury was tipped to hit 37°C, this one belonged to the Russian, 6-1 7-6(4). It very nearly went the way of the pair’s prior battles.