Angelique Kerber kept her hopes of a second Australian Open title alive with a battling come-from-behind 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory against Taiwan’s tenacious Hsieh Su-wei on Monday.
Germany’s Kerber, the 21st seed, will play Madison Keys for a place in the semi-finals after the American 17th seed steamrollered French eighth seed Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-2.
Halep cruises into last-eight
World number one Simona Halep eased into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open Monday with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over unseeded Naomi Osaka of Japan in 81 minutes.
“I’m really happy that I’m back in the quarter-finals,” said the Romanian, who last made it this far in 2015 and has been nursing a troublesome ankle that she rolled in her first-round match.
“The injury is still there. I feel it but I’m trying not to think about it and give it everything.”
Halep was delighted to be on court for 143 minutes less than her previous match against Lauren Davis, which at 3hr 44min was the longest of the tournament.
Keys crushes Garcia
US Open finalist Madison Keys continued her impressive run at the Australian Open with a crushing, straight-set win over French eighth seed Caroline Garcia.
The American, who made the semis at Melbourne Park in 2015, beat Garcia 6-3, 6-2 in just 68 minutes in their fourth-round clash. She’s yet to drop a set so far this year.
“I’m really excited because I think I’m really playing well,” said Keys of her run to the last eight.
“I’m happy with the way I’m handling the tight moments.”
The 22-year-old will face 2016 champion Angelique Kerber or Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei next.
Keys said she would let her coach, the 2000 Australian Open champion Lindsay Davenport, do the scouting on her next opponent.
“I just do what she tells me,” she said, laughing.
A couple of breaks were exchanged early in a nervy start but back on serve at 3-2 Keys, who has skated almost unnoticed through the draw, struck a decisive blow.
Under pressure at 0-30, Garcia coughed up a second double fault.
Two points later a strong forehand return opened up the court for the American who made no mistake ripping her next groundstroke for a winner to go 4-2 up.
Behind her powerful serve – Keys has only been broken four times in her four matches to date – she closed out comfortably, sealing the set with her sixth ace after 36 minutes.
She broke the Frenchwoman twice again at the start of the second to charge into a 3-0 lead.
The 22-year-old dropped her serve at 4-1 to give Garcia a sniff, before reasserting her authority by immediately breaking back to love for 5-2.
The world number 20 then sealed a dominant win in which she struck 32 winners and nine aces to Garcia’s nine winners and a single ace.
Pliskova digs deep
Karolina Pliskova rallied from a set down to beat fellow Czech and 20th seed Barbora Strycova 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-2 and make the Australian Open quarter-finals early on Tuesday. Sixth seed Pliskova will face top-ranked Simona Halep for a place in the semis after coming through the late night match on Rod Laver Arena.
“In the first set it was very close so I knew I needed to step up,” said Pliskova, who reached her second last eight at the Australian Open. “I needed to play more aggressive.”
(with inputs from AFP)