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Madison Keys advances to 4th round at Australian Open

Madison Keys advances to 4th round at Australian Open

After two comfortable wins the five-time major victor was growing in confidence, but she had no answers for Kerber, who is on a 12-match winning streak in a kind of comeback of her own after a sliding down the rankings previous year.

The German player defeated the Croatian Donna Vekic 6-4 6-1 to set up a third round clash against the Russian Maria Sharapova.

Kerber has started this year well, though, and was in imperious form to defeat Sharapova 6-1 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena.

Sharapova, back in Melbourne after testing positive for a banned substance here in 2016 resulting in a 15-month ban, had looked menacing in the opening two rounds.

The pair met again in Sharapova's next event in Beijing, with the five-time major champion taking the honours on that occasion in a match decided by a third-set tiebreak.

Kerber sent an early reminder of her recent superiority, breaking the Russian and then holding serve to go 2-0 up for the loss of just two points.

Kerber has turned over a new leaf in a number of ways, parting ways with long-time coach Torben Beltz in November, the man who guided her to two grand slam titles and the world number one ranking in 2016 during an eight-year partnership.

Women's No. 1 Simona Halep took a longer route - equaling a mark in Melbourne for endurance but signalling, perhaps, that she's closer to a Grand Slam breakthrough. "This is the matches I'm looking forward to have, especially at the beginning of the year".

The two had not played since 2015, though both their last fwo meetings had been thrilling three-set matches.

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"I knew before the match it would be a tough one". "I think it was a good decision to do it".

"I just feel that my muscles are gone", said Halep, who badly twisted her left ankle in the first round.

Halep will play the victor of Saturday's later match between local hope Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka.

In other women's third-round matches, sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova beat Lucie Safarova 7-6 (6), 7-5 and No. 8 Caroline Garcia beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

Kyrgios is now the only Australian with a chance to take an Open singles title. The 2016 victor from Germany and 21st seed roared past the unseeded Russian 2008 champion 6-1, 6-3 in 64 minutes to reach the last 16. "Don't know if (winning) is going to happen this year, but so far, so good".

Also advancing were 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, No. 19 Tomas Berdych, No. 25 Fabio Fognini, No. 26 Adrian Mannarino and Chung Hyeon.

"It feels incredible. I was ready to leave on Monday and then they told me I'm in, so I was obviously excited, " Pera said.

Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski moved on in mixed doubles.


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