Halep through to Aus Open quarters

Halep through to Aus Open quarters
Simona Halep
MELBOURNE, Jan 27 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 1/27/2020 12:32:56 PM IST

Simona Halep had to be at her counter-punching best to fight off another determined second-set comeback bid from Elise Mertens on Monday as the Romanian world number three advanced to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

Halep moved on with a 6-4, 6-4 victory that sets up a meeting with Estonia’s 28th-seed Anett Kontaveit in the last eight.
Mertens blasted bags of winners but also made 38 unforced errors as Halep chased down every ball and made the Belgian work for every point.
Halep managed to crack Mertens at crucial moments, breaking for the second time to go 5-4 up in the first set and then serving it out. She jumped out to a double break 3-0 lead in the second but Mertens came storming back and levelled at 4-4 as a frustrated Halep remonstrated with her box and whacked her racquet into the ground without breaking it. That outburst seemed to help Halep as she put Mertens under intense pressure in the 11-minute ninth game, which she took on her fifth break point opportunity then sealed the win on her next service game.
Meanwhile, Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova stayed brave in the face of a spirited fightback from former champion Angelique Kerber to move into the quarter-finals with a 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 6-2 win on Monday.
German 17th seed Kerber rallied from 5-2 down and a 3-0 deficit in the tiebreaker to win the opening set against Pavlyuchenkova, who hit an incredible 28 winners to 12 unforced errors but still found herself trailing in the match.
The second set had a similar pattern as three-time Grand Slam winner Kerber saved three set points to force a tiebreaker but the Russian 30th seed would not let the chance slip this time and levelled the match with a booming backhand winner.
Kerber finally ran out of gas as Pavlyuchenkova broke the 2016 winner three times in the decider and will next meet former French Open and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, who beat Kiki Bertens 6-3, 6-3 earlier on Monday.
Nadal beats Kyrgios 
to book quarters berth
Rafael Nadal beat home favourite Nick Kyrgios to storm into the quarterfinals of the Australian Open here on Monday.
Spaniard Nadal won 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(4) in front of a packed crowd at the Rod Laver Arena to move one step closer to a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title.
Nadal held serve to love nine times and landed 64 winners to reach his 12th quarter-final at Melbourne Park after three hours and 38 minutes.
The Spaniard has reached five Australian Open finals, lifting the trophy in 2009 and will now meet Dominic Thiem for a place in the semi-finals.

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