Australian Open: Top Seed Simona Halep Survives a Marathon Match

Davis is ranked 76th in the world but did brilliantly to take the first set against Halep

"She's always risky, especially at the Grand Slams", Kerber said. I'm really happy I could stay and win it.

Not since Chris O'Neil in 1978 has the Australian Open produced a home female victor, and the wait goes on after Ashleigh Barty was knocked out in straight sets by Naomi Osaka. At 5-foot-6, Halep is among the shorter players on tour, but Davis is listed at 5-2.

"I left all I had out there", said Lauren Davis, whose father, a cardiologist, probably knows his child has a strong heart.

"It was very hard", Davis said. "Today was not enough (but). looking at the overall picture, there's a lot to build from".

Maria Sharapova couldn't get much change off Angelique Kerber as the German dominated the Russian completely.

Simona Halep saved three match points in the titanic, 142-minute final set of an wonderful clash with world No 76 Lauren Davis before winning 4-6 6-4 15-13.

It appeared over when Halep served for the match at 5-4 in the third set.

Davis, who had three match points at 11-10 in the final set, having prevented Halep from serving it out on three occasions, was exhausted but still upbeat post-match.

"Yeah, I have never played a match like that before where it went so long in the third set".

Halep, still nursing the ankle she injured her ankle in her first-round win, said: "I'm nearly dead".

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"For sure. A ton of positives", she said of what she took from the fight. In contrast, US Open finalist Madison Keys was in fine touch and thrashed Romania's Ana Bogdan 6-3, 6-4.

Elsewhere, Czech sixth seed Karolina Pliskova beat compatriot Lucie Safarova 7-6 (8-6) 7-5 to reach round four.

With the temperatures a manageable 26 Celsius (79 Farenheit) at Melbourne Park after two days of oven-like conditions, the Romanian looked out for the count against American Lauren Davis.

Former Wimbledon Junior champion Marton Fucsovics progressed with a 6-3 6-3 6-2 victory over Nicolas Kicker.

"And I feel like US Open (last year) I was the drama every night match that I played".

Federer entered the Australian Open past year under similar circumstances, coming off an extended break for a knee injury, and went on to win the title.

It represents a third straight win for Kerber over Sharapova to level their head-to-head at 4-4, and on this evidence the 21st seed - who is the last grand slam champion left in the draw - looks a real contender.

"Expectations are different", this year, Federer said. I had a very tight tape.

Tomas Berdych ended the Australian Open campaign of Juan Martin del Potro, beating the Argentinian 6-3, 6-3, 6-2. He next meets Hyeon Chung, who ousted new generation star, Zverev.

And No 8 seed Caroline Garcia emerged as the victor of the second match in the Margaret Court Arena while the first in the Rod Laver Arena continued, the Frenchwoman beating Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3 5-7 6-2.

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