01/21 05:50 CST The Latest: End of Aussie Open will be top viewing for Halep
The Latest: End of Aussie Open will be top viewing for Halep
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) --- The Latest on Monday at the Australian Open (all
Simona Halep still has something at stake at the Australian Open despite a
fourth-round exit to Serena Williams. So she'll keep watching closely.
By the time the tournament concludes, Halep will have held the No. 1 ranking
for 64 weeks.
Halep, the French Open champion and runner-up in Australia last year, hasn't
given up hope she'll retain it.
"Well, there is another chance after this tournament to go back to No. 1 if I
lose it," Halep said. "So the main goal is just to play as good as I can every
match, to win every match I play, so the ranking doesn't really matter.
"End of the year is more important, the ranking, so I will not stress myself
about this. I just go home, I will rest, and I will watch tennis. I am also
curious who is going to win."
Williams, who is chasing her eighth Australian Open title and record-tying 24th
Grand Slam singles title overall, is not among the four women who can overhaul
Halep when the next rankings are released.
U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka, seeded fourth, and two-time Wimbledon winner
Petra Kvitova have the chance to go No. 1 if they reach the semifinals. WTA
Finals champion Elina Svitolina, seeded sixth, and seventh-seeded Karolina
Pliskova need to reach the final to have any chance.
Serena Williams faced her first real test at this year's Australian Open and
emerged with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory over No. 1-ranked Simona Halep to reach
It was a back-and-forth match filled with momentum swings and terrific play by
Williams gained control for good after saving three break points in a
monumental game to hold for 3-all in the third set. She then broke for a 4-3
lead and finally was on her way.
The 37-year-old American is trying to win an eighth championship at Melbourne
Park and record-tying 24th Grand Slam title overall.
Williams next meets 2016 U.S. Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova.
Lucas Pouille has beaten No. 11-seeded Borna Coric 6-7 (7-4) 6-4 7-5 7-6 (7-2)
to move into an Australian Open quarterfinal against Milos Raonic.
He hadn't won a main draw singles match in five previous trips to Melbourne
Park, but he has quarterfinals experience at other majors including Wimbledon
and the U.S. Open.
Pouille, who has a 0-3 record against Raonic, is being coached by Amelie
Mauresmo, the 2006 Australian Open women's champion.
Top-ranked Simona Halep has taken 23-time major winner Serena Williams to a
third set in their fourth-round match at the Australian Open.
Williams won the first set 6-1 in 20 minutes before Halep rallied to win the
second 6-4. That ended Williams' 21-set winning streak at the Australian Open.
Naomi Osaka recently took up her big sister's suggestion to wear a wig and
sunglasses to conceal her identity as she walked around in Japan.
The 21-year-old Osaka has become a big star in Japan since beating Serena
Williams in last year's U.S. Open final.
"I wasn't really walking around (but) when I did, I went at night and had a wig
on," she said, smiling. "I wanted to try to do that. For me it was fun."
She got the wig from her sister and tried it for a joke, but doesn't feel like
"I personally think she was making it a bigger deal than it had to be," Osaka
said. "Honestly, I feel like people don't look at other people when they're
Her mother is Japanese and her father is from Haiti. She was born in Japan and
lived there as a child before moving to the United States.
"I get that I'm tan and I would stand out a little bit in Japan," Osaka said.
"I think the only way people would really care is if I'm wearing some sort of
athletic (gear), like, if I was walking around with my tennis racket.
"You know, other than that, I don't think people really care too much."
Karolina Pliskova continued her successful start to 2019 to advance to the
Australian Open quarterfinals for the third consecutive year.
Pliskova beat former No.1 Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 6-1 in a lopsided fourth-round
It was the ninth straight win for Pliskova, who started the new year by winning
the singles title at the Brisbane International before heading to Melbourne
"I'm feeling great. I always feel good energy here," the 2016 U.S. Open
finalist said. "I feel like these conditions can be good for me."
Pliskova made only three unforced errors during the 60-minute match in which
she dominated Muguruza in their baseline duels.
She will next play either seven-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams
or top-ranked Simona Halep. Pliskova planned to watch them on TV, saying: "For
sure it's going to be the match of the tournament so far."
Muguruzu, who had the latest-starting match in Australian Open history when she
went on court at 12:30 a.m. against Johanna Konta in the second round, had 20
unforced errors and dropped serve five times against Pliskova.
Milos Raonic has beaten racket-smashing No. 4-seeded Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-1,
7-6 (5) on his fourth match point to reach the Australian Open quarterfinals
for the fourth time.
The big-serving Canadian had his serve broken in the opening game but responded
by winning the next eight games to go up a break in the second set. After
falling behind 4-1 in the second, Zverev had just about enough.
The 21-year-old German sat down in his courtside chair and destroyed his racket
by whacking it against the ground eight times --- and then tossing it aside.
He was warned for racket abuse after the display and, after dropping the set
two games later, he left the court and went to the locker room.
When he returned, he only dropped one point on his serve until the eighth game,
but suddenly things went haywire again when he faced two match points. Zverev
composed himself to save those two break points and led in the tiebreaker until
Raonic went on a roll.
From 3-1 down in the tiebreaker, Raonic rallied to get to 6-4 and missed one
more match point before finally converting.
The 2016 Wimbledon runner-up will face either No. 11 Borna Coric or No. 28
Lucas Pouille in the quarterfinals.
Alexander Zverev did a number on his racket.
Upset about how badly things were going in his match, Zverev sat down in his
sideline chair and destroyed his racket by whacking it against the ground eight
times --- and then tossing it aside.
He was warned for racket abuse after the display, which came with the
Australian Open's No. 4 seed trailing 6-1, 4-1 against Milos Raonic.
Soon enough, Zverev lost the second set, too, also by a 6-1 score.
U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka is into her second Grand Slam quarterfinal after
another comeback win at the Australian Open, this time over Anastasija
Osaka had to work for nearly two hours on Rod Laver Arena to subdue the gritty
Sevastova 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a fourth-round match studded by service breaks.
She'll next play sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina, who had a 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 win over
2017 U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys.
Osaka won a tight three-setter when she met Sevastova at the Brisbane
International in the first week of the season.
Sevastova grabbed the lead in the opening set on Monday, and clinched it with a
deft drop shot that forced Osaka to fly a forehand over the baseline.
Osaka had to stave off two break points in the third game of the second to edge
The fourth-seeded Osaka grew in confidence from the narrow escape and lifted
her tempo and shot-making consistency, grabbing the crucial service break in
the sixth game.
Serving to level the match, Osaka fended off a break-back point with a
brilliant forehand volley after a long, tense baseline rally. Two points later,
the match was heading into the deciding set.
Osaka broke serve to open third set to maintain the momentum.
Sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina has advanced to the Australian Open quarterfinals
with a momentum-swinging 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 win over 2017 U.S. Open finalist Madison
The WTA Finals winner fended off five breakpoints in a pivotal third game in
the third set that went to deuce 11 times and lasted more than 15 minutes. She
broke Keys' serve at the first opportunity in the next game and finished off
the match quickly.
It ended a comeback by Keys, who didn't quite find her range with her ground
strokes and 34 unforced errors, including some very nears misses on big points.
Both players reached the quarterfinals here last year, but Keys had more
success at the majors in 2018 when she progressed to the semifinals at the
French and U.S. Opens.
"I was happy I could handle the pressure at 1-1 in the third set," Svitolina
said. "It was very hard because the sun was just burning my eyes when I was
tossing the ball. Very happy I could win that game."
Svitolina will next play either U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka or No. 13
Madison Keys has opened play at Rod Laver Arena against sixth-seeded Elina
Svitolina on Day 8 at the Australian Open.
There are spots in the quarterfinals on the line for the winners of Monday's
The 17th-seeded Keys has reached the semifinals or better at three of the last
five Grand Slam tournaments. She has won both her previous matches against
Svitolina including a quarterfinal victory at the 2017 U.S. Open on her way to
The winner will advance to quarterfinal match against either U.S. Open champion
Naomi Osaka or No. 13 Anastasija Sevastova.
In the night matches later Monday, Serena Williams continues her bid for an
eighth Australian and Open-era record 24th singles major when she takes on No.
1-ranked Simona Halep, and six-time men's winner Novak Djokovic is against
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