Her second-round win was a hugely satisfying one, with the Russian overcoming 14th seed Anastasija Sevastova, who had beaten her at the US Open 6-1 7-6 (7-4).
Kerber and Sharapova have played seven times before, with the Russian leading 4-3 but having lost the last two of some fine encounters.
Kerber's year-end ranking dropped from No. 1 in 2016 to 21 previous year, when she failed to defend her Australian or U.S. Open titles.
Sharapova had returned to the Australian Open for the first time since failing a doping test in Melbourne two years ago, which brought with it a 15-month ban. She's always unsafe, especially at the Grand Slams.More news: Congress Honors 'Soldier, Legislator and Statesman' Bob Dole
"I always eat Chinese food match day before".
"She has played very well in the last two games here". "I had a really tough off-season, really happy to be here playing against the best players". "I was really trying to not think about everything around, about against who I'm playing".
She started the match in strong fashion, not offering her opponent any break points, and took both break point chances she had during an easy first set. My ankle is, I don't know how it is because I don't feel it anymore, but it was nice to be on court.
Halep will play the victor of Saturday's later match between local hope Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka.More news: UNSC delegation makes 1st Afghan visit in 8 years to assess situation
Sixth seed Karolina Pliskova remained on course for a semifinal clash with Halep as she beat fellow Czech Fed Cup teammate Lucie Safarova 7-6 (7-6), 7-5 to move into the fourth round.
Madison Keys of the United States defeated Ana Bogdan of Romania 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the fourth round of the Australian Open.
Considered one of the contenders for the title after Serena Williams opted against defending her Australian title, Muguruza had a troubled preparation including a retirement at the Brisbane International and a withdrawal ahead the quarterfinals in Sydney because of a right thigh injury.
"It feels fantastic. I was ready to leave on Monday and then they told me I'm in, so I was obviously excited, " Pera said.More news: Data on Canadian immigrants from 'shithole' countries might surprise Trump
Roger Federer continued his careerlong domination of Richard Gasquet, beating the Frenchman for the 17th time in 19 matches with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 third-round win.
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