Melbourne, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) - Former titlist and third seed Maria Sharapova was pushed to the limit in the longest match of the tournament on Thursday, while fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska rolled to a straight-set victory in the second round of the Australian Open.
In a match that lasted 3 hours, 28 minutes, Italian Karin Knapp had the Russian star Sharapova on the ropes, holding an 8-7 lead in the third set on another steamy day at Rod Laver Arena.
While matches were being suspended around them with the temperature reaching 107 degrees, Sharapova and Knapp marched on in their marathon contest, but the experience of Sharapova showed through down the stretch.
After holding serve to tie the tilt at 8-all, Sharapova broke Knapp to go on top before the two-time Aussie runner-up closed out the contest on her serve and claimed a 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 triumph to secure a spot in the third round.
Next up for Sharapova will be 25th-seeded Alize Cornet of France after she earned a hard-fought 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 decision over Italy's Camila Giorgi.
Radwanska, on the other hand, had a much easier time Thursday, as the fifth- seeded Pole posted a 6-0, 7-5 win over Olga Govortsova of Belarus.
Awaiting Radwanska in the third round will be 29th-seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who moved past Luxembourg's Mandy Minella with a 6-2, 6-2 triumph.
No. 10 seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark went the distance against American Christina McHale, but shook off a rough second set to claim a 6-0, 1-6, 6-2 victory.
Wozniacki will take on Garbine Muguruza in the next round after the unseeded Spaniard straight-setted Slovak Anna Schmiedlova 6-3, 6-3.
Eleventh-seeded Romanian Simona Halep bounced back from a slow start against American Varvara Lepchenko to claim a 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 win, setting up a third- round matchup with Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas, who downed New Zealand's Marina Erakovic by a 6-4, 6-0 margin.
Carla Suarez Navarro needed a late rally to fend off Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan, as the 16th-seeded Spaniard secured her place in the next round with a 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 8-6 victory.
Slovak Dominika Cibulkova, the 20th seed, awaits Suarez Navarro in the next round after cruising to a 6-0, 6-1 win over Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele.
Also on Thursday, Ukraine's Elina Svitolina notched a 6-4, 7-5 win over Aussie Olivia Rogowska.
With the excessive heat expected to continue throughout the day, matches on all outdoor courts were suspended until the temperature drops, leaving just Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena as available surfaces.