Australian Open: Simona Halep defeats Lauren Davis in epic match to reach fourth round

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World No.1 Simona Halep has won one of the best and longest matches of the 2018 Australian Open, outlasting an inspired Lauren Davis, 4-6, 6-4, 15-13 to reach the fourth round in front of an enthralled Rod Laver Arena.

“It was definitely a very tough match,” Halep told Sam Smith during her on-court interview. “I’ve never played such a long third set, so I’m very happy I could stay and win it. I’m almost dead, but it was nice to show such good tennis.”

Struggling with an ankle injury since her first round against Destanee Aiava, Halep recovered from a set down and saved three match points in a row in the 22nd game of the deciding set, running nearly three miles throughout, wtatennis.com informs.

“I don’t know how much I ran. My muscles are gone. I don’t know how my ankle feels because I can’t feel it anymore. It was nice to be on this court, playing this match, and being back in the fourth round. It’s great.”

Unseeded but ranked as high as No.26 last spring, Davis captured hearts and minds with her fearless play, battling back from 3-1 in the third and thrice breaking the Romanian as she served for the match.

“I’m very tired,” Davis said in her post-match press conference. “But, I mean, there is a lot to take away from that match. I played really, really well. Left all that I had out there on the court, and I did all that I could do. I think there is quite a few positives to take away from and to learn from, so things are looking up.”

Halep amped up her aggression when her back was against the wall, and maintained the pressure even as Davis began losing toenails – one in between her second and third match points – ultimately serving out her spot in the second week.

“It was definitely unfortunate, the timing of it. I think my second toes are just a bit infected. I was just jamming them a lot with how much I was moving around the court.

“That first match point just, I felt something and I couldn’t really put any pressure – it was my right toe, and then it eventually was my left toe, also. The trainer wrapped them really well and I was able to move fine after that.”

The three hour, 44 minute epic was the third longest in Australian Open history. Clocking in at 48 games, it ties the 1996 quarterfinal classic between Chanda Rubin and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.

Halep will next take on Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who defeated Ashleigh Barty (Australia) 6-4, 6-2.

In another match, Romanian tennis player Ana Bogdan was defeated by Madison Keys 6-3, 6-4.

Sorana Cirstea through in the doubles

The pair made up by Romanian tennis player Sorana Cirstea and Beatriz Haddad Maia (Brazil) has defeated on Saturday, in the last 16 round of the doubles event, the pair Alicja Rosolska (Poland)/Abigail Spears (US), 15th seeded, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and 47 minutes

For reaching this round, the winning pair will be rewarded with AUD 45,000 and 240 WTA points in the doubles.

In the next round the pair will face 4th seeded Czech players Lucie Safarova/Barbora Strycova who, in an earlier round, had defeated Raluca Olaru/Olga Savchuk 6-2, 6-2.

 

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