Pliskova, Halep and Keys enter last eight of Australian Open

 

Pliskova, Halep and Keys enter last eight of Australian Open
Karolina Pliskova reached her second Australian Open quarterfinal by outlasting Barbora Strycova.

Melbourne - Former champion Kerber saves match point against Taiwan's Hsieh on way to quarterfinals

By Reuters/AFP

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Published: Mon 22 Jan 2018, 6:48 PM

Last updated: Mon 22 Jan 2018, 8:50 PM

Sixth seed Karolina Pliskova reached her second Australian Open quarterfinal by outlasting Barbora Strycova 6-7(5) 6-3 6-2 in an all-Czech battle that stretched into the early hours of Tuesday.

Taking to the court just before 11 pm local time, the pair slugged it out for two hours and 41 minutes in the late match at Rod Laver Arena before former US Open finalist Pliskova finally put down her compatriot.

Strycova saved one match point with an audacious serve-volley and a second with an overhead smash before the 20th seed surrendered by clubbing a backhand over the baseline.

Pliskova will meet top seed Simona Halep for a place in the semifinals.

"I think the first set was very close but I needed to step up and be more aggressive," the tall 25-year-old said in the on-court interview.

"I was playing fine the other two sets. On this surface I have a chance (against Halep)."

Halep said she was close to playing "100 percent" despite her aching body giving her sleepless nights. Halep has spent a shade under eight hours on court in four matches so far, including an epic 3hr 44min against Lauren Davis on Saturday which the Romanian won 15-13 in the final set.

"First day after the (Davis) match was pretty OK," the top seed told reporters after a 6-3, 6-2 victory over unseeded Naomi Osaka of Japan in 81 minutes.

"Last night was really tough. I couldn't sleep. I had pain everywhere.

"But I slept before the match two hours, and worked perfect, perfect hours. I was, like, fresh after that. I felt good."

Madison Keys blew French eighth seed Caroline Garcia off the court 6-3 6-2 in a 68-minute display of power tennis.

The 22-year-old, the sole surviving American in the women's draw, gave up her first service game but rallied impressively to reach the last eight without giving up a set.

The 17th seed said her victory had been built on the back of learning when to go for her shots.

"I'm feeling really good," Keys told reporters. "I feel like I'm playing just solid, consistent tennis. I don't think I played unbelievable. I just played really solid and smart.

Former champion Angelique Kerber says she will take huge confidence from fighting back to reach the quarters.

The German came through a severe examination in the fourth round, dropping a set for the first time in the tournament and having to serve to save the match against Taiwan's tenacious Hsieh Su-wei.

The only Grand Slam winner left in the draw kept her hopes of a second Melbourne Park title alive with a battling 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory after being run ragged by unseeded Hsieh, ranked 88.


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