Australian Open: women's singles action heading into the second weekend

Simona Halep is looking to win the first grand slam singles title of her career. Julian Smith  EPA

Simona Halep is looking to win the first grand slam singles title of her career. Julian Smith EPA

"So long. I never played the third set so long", said Halep, who will next Naomi Osaka after the Japanese player ended the hopes of Ashleigh Barty in straight sets. "I'm nearly dead but I'm happy we could show great tennis".

"It's a good position for me to be in and I'm enjoying it". "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.

Keys missed last year's Australian Open after undergoing surgery to fix her injured left wrist. "I never played the third set so long. I want to be playing against opponents that are former Grand Slam champions", said Sharapova, who is looking to rediscover her best on her way back from a 15-month drugs ban. At 5-foot-6, Halep is among the shorter players on tour, but Davis is listed at 5-2.

Maria Sharapova will be centre stage on Rod Laver Arena against Angelique Kerber in a fascinating encounter between the only two Australian Open winners left in the women's draw.

However, she was proud of her efforts on an epic night at Melbourne Park. She took a medical timeout after failing to take advantage of the three match points and before serving at 11-11, and then when leading 13-12 before Halep served. Davis's toenail, in fact, came off and she was correctly awarded an MTO before her next service game.

Davis broke back in a titanic sixth game, only to fall behind again.


Davis said she "always looked up to" Halep, and this is a case of the literal (the American is a mere 1.57m, the Romanian 1.68m) and the figurative. She's now one win away from a third Australian Open quarterfinal.

After two comfortable wins the five-time major victor was growing in confidence, but she had no answers for Kerber, who is on a 12-match winning streak in a kind of comeback of her own after a sliding down the rankings a year ago.

Keys advanced 6-3, 6-4 over Ana Bogdan and will next play No. 8 Caroline Garcia.

The American, 24, said she modelled herself on the Romanian.

Former world number one Kerber, champion at Melbourne Park two years ago, is approaching the sort of form that saw reach the top of the rankings having endured a miserable 2017. "I played much better than I expected". "Every point was super long", Davis said. "I got to the point where I was so exhausted where I just told myself to swing and move, and for the most part it was very effective". Chung beat fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev 5-7, 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 six days after a win over No. 32 Mischa Zverev. His defense moved through another round with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win over No. 29 Richard Gasquet.

A much-hyped match between two former Australian champions was no contest: 2016 victor Angelique Kerber beat Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena to open the night program.

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