Australian Open women’s Day 6:
Simona Halep thumped Venus Williams to set up a fourth-round showdown with sister Serena, dismissing the seven-time Grand Slam winner 6-2, 6-3 on Saturday at the Australian Open.
Halep, is working herself into form as she plays in her first event of 2019; victory took 77 minutes as Williams went out in her 19th appearance at the tournament where she played the final in 2003.
“It was a great match, my best so far” Halep said. “I’m happy with how I played.
“It’s always a big challenge against a Williams sister. I was super-motivated today, it was a great atmosphere for me.
“Against Serena I have nothing to lose. I will go to the court and ive my best – I’m ready for it.”
Naomi Osaka overcame a lapse as she worked towards a possible second straight Grand Slam title, with the US Open winner needing a 5-7. 6-4, 6-1 fightback to squeeze past Hsieh Su-Wei on Saturday at the Australian Open.
Osaka was joined in the fourth round at Melbourne Park by sixth seed Elina Svitolina, who got past China’s Zhang Shuai after three hours of battle, winning 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Svitolina recovered from 0-3 down in the final set to advance.
“It was great fight today for both of us,” the Ukrainian said. “We left everything on court. We played a long match, so, yeah, I’m very pleased that I could, yeah, get the win today.
Osaka flew into a brief rage at a low point in her match, crashing a racquet in the hardcourt in frustration but later making amends: “You guys didn’t see me slamming my racket,” she told the crowd. “I didn’t do it.”
Osaka needed a crash course in working out the crafty veteran from Taiwan. “I just thought i didn’t want to give up,” Osaka said. “I really love Grand Slams and I wanted to stay here longer. I really love to play tennis.”
The winner managed to advance into the business end of the fortnight after almost two hours of battle, dropping serve four times but finishing with 41 winners and 42 unforced errors.
She marked her fightback by winning seven straight games from a set and a break down.
“I’m happy with how I fought. That’s one of the biggest things I always thought I could improve.
“Before, I would accept defeat. I came to the match knowing that she was going to do a lot of strange things. But she was just playing so well, I think I got overwhelmed.
“I just started thinking that I’m in a Grand Slam. I shouldn’t be sad, I’m playing against a really great player, so I should just enjoy my time and try and put all my energy into doing the best that I can on every point.”
Osaka is playing her first major since humiliating an over-wrought Serena Williams who melted down in anger to lose their US Open final four months ago and is only now back on an official court.
Hsieh had a Wimbledon history in 2018, knocking out world No. 1 Simona Halep in the third round on grass
Osaka next faces Anastasija Sevastova, after last season’s US Open semi-finalist beat Wang Qiang 6-3, 6-3, reaching the Melbourne fourth round for the first time since 2011.
It took Serena Williams just over an hour to defeat Ukraine teenager Dayana Yastremska as the 37-year-old American tries to finally win a record-levelling 24th Grand Slam singles title.
Williams will be playing a fourth round here for the 15th time.
She is seeking an eight title in Melbourne, moving a step closer after beating her 57th-ranked opponent.
Yastremska was treated for a rolled right ankle midway down 4-1 in the second set, shortly before the veteran wrapped up victory.
“I could tell she was quite upset. I kind of liked that. It shows she wasn’t just there to play a good match, she was there to win,” Williams said.
“She wanted to win. That really broke my heart. I think she’s a good talent. It’s good to see that attitude.”
As for her own form:”I haven’t played a lot since New York. But I’m here. I’ve trained in the off-season.
“I’m here to play tennis, do what I do best. I think I’m getting there. I don’t feel like I’m there yet.”
2017 US Open finalist Madison Keys advanced as she put out Belgian Els Mertens, a former semi-finalist, 6-3, 6-2.
Double Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza came back a winner after playing until 3 a.m. this week in the previous round, beating Swiss Timea Bacsinszky 7-6(5), 6-2.