Maria Sharapova needed all of her experience to overcome a determined Sabine Lisicki 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to advance to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.
The fourth-seeded Russian won the opening three games but suddenly lost her mojo as the German reeled off the next six games to seize the first set and seemingly all the momentum.
But Sharapova fought back in the second set and then scrapped tooth and nail in the third game of the third to hold serve before she broke 14th seed Lisicki in the sixth, which ultimately set up her victory.
Sharapova will next meet countrywoman Ekaterina Makarova after the world number 56 caused the upset of the tournament by thrashing five-times champion Serena Williams 6-2, 6-3.
"I had lots of ups and downs today so I was fortunate to finish on a high note," Sharapova said afterwards.
"I got it together in the second set, but the third was a battle.
"She was a good opponent and playing with confidence. I'm happy that although I didn't play my best tennis I hung in there.
"It's a step further than last year."
Lisicki felt the difference in the match was Sharapova pulling out big serves when she needed them.
"Unfortunately she made some great serves in the third set when I had some break points and there's not much I can do when she does that," Lisicki said.
"I'm taking lots of positive things out of here and I'll keep building on it."
ReutersTags: australian-open, tennis, sport, melbourne-3000, vic, australia First posted January 23, 2012 22:29:03