Halep tops Davis after nearly four gruelling hours

Top seed Simona Halep saved three match points to come back from the brink in an epic third-round Australian Open encounter 4-6, 6-4, 15-13 Saturday against Lauren Davis.

Romanian Halep finally served out the match after breaking Davis' defences to move 14-13 clear, and she sealed victory two hours and 22 minutes after the deciding set began.

"I feel really happy but I'm also kind of sorry because I know you guys wanted her to win", humble Japanese youngster Naomi Osaka after eliminating Ashleigh Barty with a 6-4 6-2 third-round win.

It equaled the longest women's singles match at the Australian Open in terms of games played: Chanda Rubin's win over Arantxa Shanchez Vicario in 1996 was also 48 games.

"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. "It was not easy, but I just kept playing and I just kept believing that it's not over, even if she is leading". "And then I was really excited to start the new season".

"I have always looked up to her and I think we have shown the world that we can be the best". Pliskova beat No. 29 Lucie Safarova in straight sets, 7-6 (6), 7-5 while Garcia bested Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

Serving to stay in the first set at 4-5, Halep failed to fend off the inspired play of Davis, particularly on her backhand side, and ultimately conceded the set 4-6 after just 40 minutes of play.

No. 17 Madison Keys was a 6-3, 6-4 victor over Ana Bogdan.

And Halep, already nursing an ankle injury after her first-round victory against Australian qualifier Destanee Aiava, was keen to bypass tennis talk.

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Davis, belittling her WTA ranking of 76, shifted Halep around the court with an all-or-nothing style that produced a flurry of winners to mask a threateningly high unforced error count.

Halep dodged a major orange cone in her quest for her first Gand Slam title Saturday. "I got to the point where I was so exhausted where I just told myself to swing and move, and, I mean, for the most part it was very effective".

After enduring a first set arm wrestle, Keys converted a fourth-break point chance at 4-3 to go ahead.

Second seed Caroline Wozniacki is into the fourth round of play.

His serve was effectively untouchable for most of the match, with Gasquet unable to earn a break point until late in the third set when the Frenchman was able to get back level at 4-4.

"I think in the past I wouldn't have fought that hard", she said.

The big match Saturday had the only two women's major champions left in the tournament playing each other - 2008 Australian victor Maria Sharapova vs. 2016 Melbourne Park champion Angelique Kerber.

On the last match of the night on Margaret Court Arena, Radwanska became upset with Hsieh's preoccupation with having moths removed from the court by ballboys and ballgirls, suggesting to the chair umpire that they shouldn't bother because the insects were "everywhere" on the court.

  • Sonia Alvarado