Day Eight of the Australian Open was packed with some great matches, including an incredible matchup between Serena Williams and Simona Halep.
No. 16 Serena Williams def. No. 1 Simona Halep 6-1, 4-6, 6-4
MELBOURNE, Australia — Serena Williams faced her first real test at this year's Australian Open and emerged with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory over No. 1-ranked Simona Halep to reach the quarterfinals.
It was a back-and-forth match filled with momentum swings and terrific play by both.
Williams gained control for good after saving three break points in a monumental game to hold for 3-all in the third set. She then broke for a 4-3 lead and finally was on her way.
The 37-year-old American is trying to win an eighth championship at Melbourne Park and record-tying 24th Grand Slam title overall.
Williams next meets 2016 U.S. Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova.
No. 6 Elina Svitolina def. No. 17 Madison Keys 6-2, 1-6, 6-1
MELBOURNE, Australia — Sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina has advanced to the Australian Open quarterfinals with a momentum-swinging 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 win over 2017 U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys.
The WTA Finals winner fended off five break points in a pivotal third game in the third set that went to deuce 11 times and lasted more than 15 minutes. She broke Keys's serve at the first opportunity in the next game and finished off the match quickly.
It ended a comeback by Keys, who didn't quite find her range with her groundstrokes and 34 unforced errors, including some very nears misses on big points.
Both players reached the quarterfinals here last year, but Keys had more success at the majors in 2018 when she progressed to the semifinals at the French and U.S. Opens.
''I was happy I could handle the pressure at 1-1 in the third set,'' Svitolina said. ''It was very hard because the sun was just burning my eyes when I was tossing the ball. Very happy I could win that game.''
Svitolina will next play either U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka or No. 13 Anastasija Sevastova.
No. 4 Naomi Osaka def. No. 14 Anastasija Sevastova 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
MELBOURNE, Australia — U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka is into her second Grand Slam quarterfinal after another comeback win at the Australian Open, this time over Anastasija Sevastova.
Osaka had to work for nearly two hours on Rod Laver Arena to subdue the gritty Sevastova 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a fourth-round match studded by service breaks. She'll next play sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina, who had a 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 win over 2017 U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys.
Osaka won a tight three-setter when she met Sevastova at the Brisbane International in the first week of the season.
Sevastova grabbed the lead in the opening set on Monday, and clinched it with a deft drop shot that forced Osaka to fly a forehand over the baseline.
Osaka had to stave off two break points in the third game of the second to edge ahead.
The fourth-seeded Osaka grew in confidence from the narrow escape and lifted her tempo and shot-making consistency, grabbing the crucial service break in the sixth game.
Serving to level the match, Osaka fended off a break-back point with a brilliant forehand volley after a long, tense baseline rally. Two points later, the match was heading into the deciding set.
Osaka broke serve to open the third set to maintain the momentum.
No. 8 Karolina Pliskova def No. 18 Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 6-1
MELBOURNE, Australia — Karolina Pliskova continued her successful start to 2019 to advance to the Australian Open quarterfinals for the third consecutive year.
Pliskova beat former No.1 Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 6-1 in a lopsided fourth-round match.
It was the ninth straight win for Pliskova, who started the new year by winning the singles title at the Brisbane International before heading to Melbourne Park.
''I'm feeling great. I always feel good energy here,'' the 2016 U.S. Open finalist said. ''I feel like these conditions can be good for me.''
Pliskova made only three unforced errors during the 60-minute match in which she dominated Muguruza in their baseline duels.
She will next play either eight-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams or top-ranked Simona Halep. Pliskova planned to watch them on TV, saying: ''For sure it's going to be the match of the tournament so far.''
Muguruza, who had the latest-starting match in Australian Open history when she went on court at 12:30 a.m. against Johanna Konta in the second round, had 20 unforced errors and dropped serve five times against Pliskova
No. 1 Novak Djokovic No. 15 Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-7, 6-2, 6-3
Top-seeded Novak Djokovic overcame a couple of tumbles to the court and a series of energy-sapping baseline exchanges - one point lasted 42 strokes! - to get back to the Australian Open quarterfinals for the first time since 2016 by beating No. 15 Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-3.
Djokovic has won six of his 14 Grand Slam titles at Melbourne Park and is into his 10th quarterfinal at the hard-court tournament.
But he exited in the fourth round last year and the second round in 2017.
After edging Medvedev in a 3-hour, 15-minute struggle, Djokovic joked during an on-court interview: ''Since I guess my next opponent is watching, I'm feeling fantastic. I've never felt fresher in my life.''
His next opponent is No. 8 Kei Nishikori, whose own fourth-rounder was even more grueling, going to a fifth-set tiebreaker and lasting 5 hours, 5 minutes.
No. 16 Milos Raonic def. No.4 Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-1, 7-6 (5)
MELBOURNE, Australia — Milos Raonic has beaten racket-smashing No. 4-seeded Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-1, 7-6 (5) on his fourth match point to reach the Australian Open quarterfinals for the fourth time.
The big-serving Canadian had his serve broken in the opening game but responded by winning the next eight games to go up a break in the second set. After falling behind 4-1 in the second, Zverev had just about enough.
The 21-year-old German sat down in his courtside chair and destroyed his racket by whacking it against the ground eight times—and then tossing it aside.
He was warned for racket abuse after the display and, after dropping the set two games later, he left the court and went to the locker room.
When he returned, he only dropped one point on his serve until the eighth game, but suddenly things went haywire again when he faced two match points. Zverev composed himself to save those two break points and led in the tiebreaker until Raonic went on a roll.
From 3-1 down, Raonic rallied to get to 6-4 and missed one more match point before finally converting.
The 2016 Wimbledon runner-up will face either No. 11 Borna Coric or No. 28 Lucas Pouille in the quarterfinals.
No. 8 Kei Nishikori def. No. 23 Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7 (8), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (8)
Kei Nishikori reached the Australian Open quarterfinals after clinching a fifth-set tiebreaker that had No. 23-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta screaming in anger as he left Margaret Court Arena.
Nishikori rallied after dropping the first two sets and had a chance to serve out at 5-4 in the fifth but was broken. Nishikori, who eventually won 6-7 (8), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (8), was trailing 8-5 in the tiebreaker when a contentious call changed the momentum and prompted the angry response from Carreno Busta.
Carreno Busta's shot clipped the net, and Nishikori reset to hit a backhand down the line after the ball landed near the doubles alley.
A line judge called it out, after Nishikori had hit the ball down the line, and Carreno Busta was nowhere close to playing it. He challenged the decision, and Hawk-Eye showed the ball hitting the line, but the point remained with Nishikori.
After arguing with umpire Thomas Sweeney, Carreno Busta lost the next three points and Nishikori sealed the match with an ace. After shaking hands with Nishikori, Carreno Busta threw his bag into the court before collecting it and yelling at the chair umpire as he left the arena.
After spending 5 hours, 5 minutes on court in the fourth round, Nishikori will next play either six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic or Daniil Medvedev.
It was the second time in four rounds Nishikori has had to come back after losing the first two sets.
It was also the second time Nishikori has had to win a fifth-set, first-to-10 super tiebreaker, which was introduced at the Australian Open for the first time this year.
Nishikori withstood 59 aces from 39-year-old Ivo Karlovic in his second-round match before winning it in fifth-set tiebreaker.
No. 28 Lucas Pouille def. No. 11 Borna Coric 6-7 (7-4) 6-4 7-5 7-6 (7-2)
MELBOURNE, Australia — Lucas Pouille has beaten No. 11-seeded Borna Coric 6-7 (7-4) 6-4 7-5 7-6 (7-2) to move into an Australian Open quarterfinal against Milos Raonic.
He hadn't won a main draw singles match in five previous trips to Melbourne Park, but he has quarterfinals experience at other majors including Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
Pouille, who has a 0-3 record against Raonic, is being coached by Amelie Mauresmo, the 2006 Australian Open women's champion.