AUSTRALIAN OPEN - Halep wins the match of the tournament

Simona Halep, the top women's seed in the Australian, saved three match points and outlasted the unseeded American Lauren Davis in a marathon third set Saturday to advance to the fourth round.

There was a sense of deja vu when the first two games of the second set went against serve, but Halep's athleticism and accuracy combined with a string of Bouchard errors ensured it was plain sailing for last year's French Open runner-up.

The No. 76-ranked Davis, who had two medical time outs in the third set for treatment on both feet, including a break after blowing three match points from 0-40 on Halep's serve in the 22nd game.

Halep left fans gasping in concern after rolling her ankle during her first-round win over Destanee Ajava, and even Halep admitted after beating Bouchard that she was anxious entering the match.

"Was very tough match".

"Yeah, I have never played a match like that before where it went so long in the third set. I want to be playing against opponents that are former Grand Slam champions", said Sharapova, who is looking to rediscover her best on her way back from a 15-month drugs ban. "So long", Halep said after equalling the Australian Open women's record for most games in a match. "I don't know how my ankle is because I can't feel it any more". "I mean, 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". With the score 1-1 at 15-all in the first set, Halep looked crisp during a fiery 20-shot rally that ended with her forehand victor.

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The club said in a statement: "Coutinho has an injury to his right thigh and he is expected to be out for around 3 weeks". For sure, I gave everything I could.

With no tie-break in the deciding final set at the Australian Open, the battle quickly transformed from a tennis match into an all out war of attrition, as the pair fought tirelessly to break serve and outlast each other.

Four times in her last six appearances, Halep had lost in the first round in Melbourne, and she was clearly determined this would not happen again, even when she lost a 3-1 lead in the decider. "Especially when the score is like that and three-and-a-half hours into the match". "It was nice to win this match". I was in the zone and trying to focus on what it was I had to do in that next point in order to be successful.

For Halep, it was the first career "overtime" match in Grand Slam play.

Defending champion Roger Federer continued his dominance over Richard Gasquet to reach the round of 16 at the Australian Open on Saturday and keep his quest for a 20th Grand Slam title on track. Both players missed break point opportunities later on, ensuring that the sole break was crucial for Halep. "So it's a good position for me to be in, and I'm enjoying it". She had three match balls.

Much later, on the same Rod Laver court, the 32-year-old world No88, Hsieh Su-wei, beat No26 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-2, 7-5, to reach the second week in Melbourne for the first time since 2008.

  • Regina Holmes