Australian Open: Simona Halep reaches QF; Pavlyuchenkova ousts former champ Kerber

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Australian Open: Simona Halep reaches QF; Pavlyuchenkova ousts former champ Kerber

A new women’s singles champion will emerge at the 2020 Australian Open after 17th seed and 2016 champion, Angelique Kerber lost her fourth-round match on Monday. The German had been the sole former champion standing at Melbourne Park, following the series of exits that shaped the tournament’s first week.

Thirtieth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeated Kerber 6-7(2), 7-6(4), 6-2 in two hours and 37 minutes. Despite losing the opening set after taking a lead early on its proceedings, Pavlyuchenkova did not second guess herself.

She needed five set points to win the second set but once she did so, she built upon that momentum to further fuel her. Pavlyuchenkova went up a double break 4-0 and there was a late comeback attempt from Kerber who broke her once to bridge the divide.

However, a third break helped the Russian seal the deal and reach her third quarter-final here, for the second straight year. Pavlyuchenkova will play Garbine Muguruza in their last-eight match. The Spaniard upset the ninth seed Kiki Bertens 6-3, 6-3 in 68 minutes.

This is Muguruza’s first quarter-final since she reached the final eight at the 2018 French Open. Super-imposing Simona Halep The fourth-seeded Romanian remained on track to win her first Australian Open title. Halep reached the quarter-finals with a 6-4, 6-4 win over 16th seed Elise Mertens in their day-session match at the Rod Laver Arena.

The score-line of the match looks one-sided. But its happenings were a completely different story as Mertens never stopped pushing at Halep, despite surrendering service breaks across both sets. Her attempts did bear results and Halep was broken back in both sets.

But Halep’s mettle ensured that she recouped lost ground just as quickly, thereby propping up the aforementioned score in an hour 36 minutes. “I had to calm down, when I get a little bit nervous, I get crazy on court.

I had to stay cool, to get the energy from my box. I couldn’t think of going behind,” Halep said, after her win. The 28-year-old, whose best result at Melbourne Park came two years ago, in 2018 when she reached the final – lost to Caroline Wozniacki – will play Estonian 28th seed Anett Kontaveit in the quarter-finals.

Kontaveit won against Polish teen Iga Swiatek 6-7(4), 7-5, 7-5 to become the first player from her country to come this far at the Major. Photo Credit: Simona Halep Twitter