Halep downs Davis in marathon but the Barty party is over

Karolina Pliskova proved too strong for Lucie Safarova on Saturday. Lukas Coch  EPA

It was a miracle they could talk at all after three hours and 44 minutes of sparring.

"It was the only match that I have played like this, it was very tough and I gave everything I had". So long. I never played a third set so long, " Halep said. Her opponent, Davis, also apparently lost some toenails, as she said to her trainer at one point during the match. "I'm nearly dead. It was nice we could show such good tennis".

"It's a good position for me to be in and I'm enjoying it". But it was nice to be on court.

'Left all that I had out there on the court, and I did all that I could do.

"I knew it would be tough, Maria is a champion, and I just tried to play my game".

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The Swiss defending champion headlines Rod Laver Arena in the evening, with the 19-time Grand Slam victor tackling France's Richard Gasquet.

A ballboy at the Australian Open has narrowly avoided a disaster after a mix-up involving American Lauren Davis on Saturday.

Halep saved three match points to hold to 11-11 and showed all her frustration to have to pause soon after.

A six-time champion in Melbourne, the Serbian star had to take a medical timeout early in the second set on the Margaret Court Arena to receive treatment on his hip. I found more energy after that three-minute break.

Remarkably, Halep entered the contest with an ankle problem, sustained in her first-round match, and she admitted she couldn't "feel it any more" after limping through one of the matches of the tournament. Nonetheless, it was a match full of positives for her, "There's a lot that I think I can work on going home, but I think after this I'm just gonna really focus on all that I did well and just how well I handled myself at this tournament and just how well I played, for sure". As well, it was Federer's 90th match win at Melbourne Park. No.17 seed Madison Keys cruised past Ana Bogdan, achieving her best result in a major, to power into the second week for the ninth time in a Grand Slam tournament.

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Nadal, the 2017 runner-up, wasted no time in reaching the third round, dropping only one service game - while serving for the match - and making just 10 unforced errors in a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. It featured the only two Major champions left in the women's draw, both former Australian Open champions, and both now ranked significantly below the No1 ranking that each has reached.

"She played great", an exhausted Halep told Xinhua. "I just think the double-hander is easier".

The grand slam hopeful went on to level the match and she looked set to close it out at 5-4, and again at 6-5 and 8-7, but Halep squandered all three chances. Davis looked to be down-and-out especially coming into the encounter as the underdog and having lost the second set, she conceded ten straight points to go down 1-3 in the decider.

The Russian, back in the top 50 after 15 months on the sidelines, had her progress at the Australian Open ruthlessly snuffed out by 2016 champion Angelique Kerber in the third round Saturday.

The 3-hour, 45-minute match lasted 48 games, tying the battle between American Chanda Rubin and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in 1996 for the most at the Australian Open in the Open.

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