Kerber beats Sharapova in 3rd round; Halep in long-haul win

Marsha Scott
January 21, 2018

Halep saved three match points and missed three opportunities to serve out for victory, before finally tottering over the finish line by a 4-6, 6-4, 15-13 margin.

"This court is special for me and I was trying to enjoy every point", 30 year-old Kerber said of Rod Laver Arena, where she beat Serena Williams in the 2016 final. Nonetheless, it was a match full of positives for her, "There's a lot that I think I can work on going home, but I think after this I'm just gonna really focus on all that I did well and just how well I handled myself at this tournament and just how well I played, for sure". My ankle is - I don't know how it is because I don't feel it any more. "I'm nearly dead. It was nice we could show such good tennis".

That was the first night match scheduled for Rod Laver Arena, with Roger Federer to follow in his third-round match against Richard Gasquet. Although Halep eventually got the better of the 24-year-old, appreciative spectators applauded Davis as if she had won the entire tournament.

The third was simply out of this world.

The 135-minute second set lasted longer than all but six matches so far in the tournament.

"Definitely was a very tough match, so long", said Halep, who has twice reached the final at the French Open but never won a Grand Slam singles title.

Each time, Davis jumped off the deck to break back, fist-pumping to an appreciative crowd.

There are many similarities between Davis and Halep.

Another marathon game followed as Davis once again escaped from the brink, saving five break points to hold for 12-11 and put herself in an advantageous position to close out the win.

Halep applauds her opponent off the court after a great display of stamina and defence in a losing cause
Halep applauds her opponent off the court after a great display of stamina and defence in a losing cause

That's if she can walk. I did that, and I think she was a little bit exhausted at that moment.

"I obviously have to be more humble this time with my expectations because I haven't played for six months", the 14th-seeded Djokovic said. He was broken three times in the opening set and once in the second set, then didn't face another break point for the rest of the match.

The 4-6, 6-4, 15-13 win, during which she saved three match points when down love-40, at 10-11 in the third, was a monumental step forward in the shoring up of perhaps her weakest asset - her competitive confidence.

US Open finalist Madison Keys sent a message that her 2017 season-end form was no fluke, running roughshod over Romanian Ana Bogdan to make the last 16.

Wild-card entry Julien Benneteau has had an upset 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1, 7-6 (4) victory over seventh-seeded David Goffin, winning the last five points in the tiebreaker in a third-round match.

In other women's third-round matches, sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova beat Lucie Safarova 7-6 (6), 7-5 and No. 8 Caroline Garcia beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

Fourth seed Zverev lost 7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2, 3-6, 0-6. She lost to Sevastova at the U.S. Open last September in her return to Grand Slam tennis.

The 13th-seeded Querrey was one of 10 American players - men and women - to reach the second round from the 32 who started the main draws, the lowest number of Americans through to the second round in Melbourne since seven in 2011.

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Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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