Halep avoids shocks to ease into Melbourne last 16

Tanya Simon
January 25, 2020

Pliskova, a semifinalist here previous year, lost 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3) Saturday to 30th-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in match lasting nearly 2 ½ hours.

It was another tough day for seeds as Bencic (6) and Vekic (19) failed to progress beyond the third round in Melbourne.

"I think she was playing very well".

After defending champion Naomi Osaka and 23-time grand slam victor Serena Williams were eliminated on Friday, Pliskova joined the star duo in dropping out of the tournament.

Swiss sixth seed Belinda Bencic suffered a 6-0 6-1 defeat against Estonia's Anett Kontaveit in 49 minutes.

"It's just a tournament, and I'm sure that for you guys (media) it's a little bit of shock when the top-10 players are losing, but it's life and we can not be 100 percent every day", she said.

With world No 2 Karolina Pliskova falling to Russian underdog Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Halep is the highest seed left on her side of the women's draw. "Maybe the best she played against me so far in the last couple matches", Pliskova told reporters. "I'm still in the match and focusing on the next point", Pavlyuchenkova said. "It's the same at every grand slam".

Australian case of coronavirus confirmed
With the Chinese New Year happening this weekend, normally heavy holiday travel through Wuhan has been halted by the quarantine. Local media said the patient was a man in his 40s who was originally from Wuhan and on a trip to Japan .

"I didn't check the statistics yet, but I think I can serve much better".

The Czech levelled for 4-all but couldn't maintain momentum, squandering no less than five break opportunities that would have put her 6-5 ahead and in the lead for the first time.

Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev needed less than two hours to beat local hope Alexei Popyrin 6-4 6-3 6-2 as the Russian reached the fourth round and matched his best run at Melbourne Park.

World number one Rafa Nadal continued his quest for a 20th Grand Slam title by gliding past 27th seed Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1 6-2 6-4, extending his winning streak against Spanish opposition to 18 matches stretching back to 2016. Interspersing variety alongside her customary game, Halep kept Putintseva off-foot throughout the match.

The 28-year-old will next meet three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber in the fourth round after the German defeated Italy's Camila Giorgi 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 6-3.

Halep, who also won the French Open in 2018, said being the current Wimbledon champion meant nothing in terms of trying to win the Australian Open for the first time.

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