Simona Halep defeated Venus Williams to set up a fourth-round match against Serena Williams, while Novak Djokovic also advanced.

By Associated Press
January 18, 2019

No. 1 Simona Halep def. Venus Williams 6-2, 6-3

Simona Halep beat one Williams sister at the Australian Open and now will face the other.

The No. 1-seeded Halep, last year's runner-up at Melbourne Park, reeled off six consecutive games in one stretch and ended up beating Venus Williams 6-2, 6-3 in the third round.

Next for Halep is a showdown against 23-time major champion Serena Williams with a quarterfinal berth at stake.

Says Halep: ''It's going to be a bigger challenge. I am ready to face it.''

After two tough three-set tussles in Australia, Halep had a much easier time of things Saturday and made only 12 unforced errors, while Venus made 33. Halep played with her left thigh taped, but moved around the court well.

For Venus, this is the fifth consecutive Grand Slam tournament she exits before the fourth round.

No. 4 Naomi Osaka def. Hsieh Su-Wei 5–7, 6–4, 6–1

U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka overcame a frustrating first set and a tricky rival to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 win over Hsieh Su-wei.

The fourth-seeded Osaka got a warning from the umpire for smashing her racket onto the court in the first set and was down a break in the second before gaining control of the match.

The 33-year-old Hsieh, who plays with a double-handed grip on both sides and uses a mixture of spin and slice and drop shots to unsettle her rivals, reached the fourth round last year here and at Wimbledon, where she beat top-ranked Simona Halep.

No. 6 Elina Svitolina def. Zhang Shuai 4–6, 6–4, 7–5

Sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina came back from 3-0 down in the third set to beat Zhang Shuai 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 in the third round at Melbourne Park.

Both players took medical timeouts during the almost three-hour match.

Zhang took a medical time out after the second set ended and again after the fifth game of the final set when Svitolina was trailing 3-2. Zhang had received frequent treatment between games as well for a right shoulder or back ailment.

Svitolina broke Zhang’s serve in the sixth game to level the set at 3-3, then fended off two break points in the following game before holding to lead 4-3.

Svitolina served for the match at 5-4 but Zhang broke to extend it. Svitolina hit a backhand passing shot to clinch the 11th game and take a 6-5 lead, then broke Zhang’s serve in the final game, clinching the 2-hour, 55-minute match when Zhang hit a forehand into the net.

Svitolina will play Madison Keys in the fourth round.

No. 7 Karolina Pliskova def. No 27 Camila Giorgi 6-4, 3-6, 6-2

No. 17 Madison Keys def. No. 12 Elise Mertens 6–3, 6–2

Madison Keys has reached the second week of the Australian Open for the fourth time with a 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 12-seeded Elise Mertens.

Keys, a semifinalist here in 2015 and runner-up at the 2017 U.S. Open, converted four of her seven break-point chances and saved one of the eight she faced against Mertens.

“I’m definitely very happy with how I played today — especially how I served and got out of some could-be-bad situations,” she said.

The No. 17 seed didn’t play any warm-up tournaments before the season’s first major and says “I’m feeling a lot better now that I’ve had three wins.”

She has reached the semifinals at three of the last five Grand Slam events. Her opponent in the fourth round will be sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina, who came back from 3-0 down in the third set to beat Zhang Shuai 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.

No. 13 Anastaija Sevastova def. No. 21 Qiang Wang 6–3, 6–3

No. 16 Serena Williams def. Dayana Yastremska 6–2, 6–1

Seven-time champion Serena Williams has advanced to the fourth round at Melbourne Park with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Dayana Yastremska.

The 16th-seeded Williams has now won 20 consecutive sets at Melbourne Park, having not dropped a set in her 2017 title run and winning three rounds here this year in straight sets. She did not play here in 2018 following the birth of her daughter.

Yamstremska received treatment during a medical timeout after she turned her right ankle while stretching to return a shot in the fifth game of the second set.

Williams won her 84th match at Melbourne Park, which is more than any other woman in Australian Open history. She has lost just 10 matches in 18 appearances at the tournament.

Williams, attempting to win a record 24th Grand Slam singles title, will next play either her sister Venus or top-seeded Simona Halep, who play later Saturday.

No. 18 Garbine Muguruza def. Timea Bacsinszky 7-6, 6-2

Two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza got to enjoy a much earlier start - and much earlier finish - at the Australian Open this time.

One round after playing a match that began at 12:30 a.m. and ended after 3 a.m., Muguruza's workday was done before bedtime thanks to a far more reasonable schedule and a straightforward 7-6 (5), 6-2 victory over Timea Bacsinszky.

This one was underway before 7:30 p.m. and was done by about 9:15 p.m.

The 18th-seeded Muguruza's previous outing, a three-setter against Johanna Konta, is believed to have been the first Australian Open singles match to start after midnight.

In the fourth round, Muguruza will take on either 2016 U.S. Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova or No. 27 seed Camila Giorgi.

No. 1 Novak Djokovic def. No. 25 Denis Shapovalov 6–3, 6–4, 4–6, 6–0

Novak Djokovic extended his Grand Slam winning streak against lefthanders with a 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 win over Denis Shapovalov in the third round of the Australian Open.

The win guaranteed that Djokovic would keep his No. 1 ranking after the Australian Open. Rafael Nadal could have taken the top ranking if he won the tournament and Djokovic lost before the fourth round

Djokovic has won 18 consecutive matches against lefties since being beaten by Nadal in the French Open final in 2014. Overall, Djokovic has a 32-11 record against lefthanders in majors.

No. 4 Alexander Zverev def. Alex Bolt 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 

Alexander Zverev is through to the fourth round at the Australian Open after beating Australian wild-card entry Alex Bolt 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.

Bolt upset 29th-seeded Gilles Simon in five sets in the second round.

The fourth-seeded Zverev next plays 2016 Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic.

Raonic earlier beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert in straight sets.

No. 8 Kei Nishikori def. Joao Sousa 7–6(6), 6–1, 6–2

Kei Nishikori got through the third round in straight sets against Joao Sousa, getting a bit of relief after his first two matches at Melbourne Park went to five sets.

The eighth-seeded Nishikori had a 7-6 (6), 6-1, 6-2 win on Margaret Court Arena right after Naomi Osaka’s three-set comeback win over Hsieh Su-wei.

Nishikori, the 2014 U.S. Open finalist, fended off 59 aces from 39-year-old Ivo Karlovic in the second round before winning the fifth-set tiebreaker 10-7.

Sousa had also advanced through two five-setters and needed a medical time out in the third set.

The last time Nishikori won consecutive matches in five sets at a major was at the U.S. Open in 2014, when he beat Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka in five on the way to his semifinal win over Novak Djokovic.

It was Nishikori’s third straight game on Margaret Court Arena, and he said he enjoyed the vibe — particularly after playing after fellow Japanese player Osaka, the U.S. Open champion.

“Forehand has been working very well. Second and third sets I was playing really aggressive, and everything was working well,” he said.

He has reached the fourth round in Australia for the seventh time and is on a roll after winning the season-opening tournament in Brisbane.

No. 11 Borna Coric def. Filip Krajinovic 2–6, 6–3, 6–4, 6–3

No. 23 Pablo Carreno def. No. 12 Fabio Fognini 6–2, 6–4, 2–6, 6–4

No. 15 Daniil Medvedev def. No. 21 David Goffin 6-2, 7-6, 6-3

No. 16 Milos Raonic def. Pierre Hugues-Herbert 6–4, 6–4, 7–6(6)

Milos Raonic eased to a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (6) win over Pierre-Hugues Herbert to move into the fourth round of the Australian Open for the sixth time.

It came after Raonic had two tough opening matches with Nick Kyrgios and 2014 champion Stan Warwinka.

Raonic swept to 3-0 and 5-1 leads in the tiebreaker but Herbert rallied to level at 5-5. Herbert saved one match point before Raonic clinched the 2-hour, 1-minute match with an ace.

Raonic will play the winner of the later match between fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev and Alex Bolt.

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