Simona Halep finally topples Lauren Davis after epic 143-minute final set

Pauline Gross
January 21, 2018

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.

There were 11 service breaks and two medical timeouts - for Davis to get treatment on both feet - before Halep converted on her first match point.

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

The Australian Open junior champion previous year, who entered the season-opening major ranked No. 521, Kostyuk became the youngest player since Martina Hingis in 1996 to win main draw matches at the season-opening major.

"I just feel that my muscles are gone", said Halep, who badly twisted her left ankle in the first round. "I'm just trying to change myself to not think that much about the points".

"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. "I'm nearly dead. It was nice we could show such good tennis".

Earlier, sixth seed Karolina Pliskova beat Czech Fed Cup teammate Lucie Safarova 7-6, 7-5 to move into the fourth round.

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

- Madison Keys is through to the fourth round of the Australian Open after starting Saturday's program on Margaret Court Arena with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Ana Bogdan.

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The Japanese 20-year-old's win finally marked some success in the third round at a major - she was previously 0 for 5.

While Wozniacki is the current WTA Finals champion in women's singles, she remains in search of her first ever Grand Slam singles title. "For sure I'm stronger mentally, and I could resist like for every moment in the match". "Anybody who knows me knows I never give up".

The Romanian eventually won the marathon third-round clash 4-6, 6-4, 15-13 in 3hr 44min after three times stumbling when serving for the match.

Day 6 was the end of the road for Maria Sharapova in her first Melbourne appearance after her doping ban, as she was beaten 6-1, 6-3 in just over an hour by the superb Angelique Kerber.

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.

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.

Dominic Thiem has survived his first career five-set match at the Australian Open, rallying from two sets down to defeat 190th-ranked American qualifier Denis Kudla 6-7 (6), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in the second round.

Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, had made it to the final in Auckland a week before this year's Australian Open, losing to Roberto Bautista Agut. "She's always risky, especially at the Grand Slams", Kerber said.

"I finished the US Open, and I was exhausted", Keys said. They are both ultra fast around the court and equally tenacious.

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