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Medvedev aims to march on as resurgent Halep sweeps into last 16


Romania’s Simona Halep was in insatiable form again as she swept into the last 16 on Saturday

World number two Daniil Medvedev was stepping up his march towards the Australian Open men’s title as former finalist Simona Halep swept into the second week in Melbourne and Aryna Sabalenka overcame the serving yips on Saturday.

Halep swatted aside Danka Kovinic, the conqueror of US Open champion Emma Raducanu, 6-2, 6-1 in just 64 minutes and will face French veteran Alize Cornet on Monday for a place in the quarter-final.

“I feel great that I can play the fourth round again. I always love to play in Australia so that’s why maybe I play good matches,” said Halep.

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Cornet slugged it out with Slovenia’s 29th seed Tamara Zidansek for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory and said she was just glad to get through on a hot day.

World number two Sabalenka overcame the serving problems that have been plaguing her early season, but still needed three sets to get past 31st seed Marketa Vondrousova.

She now meets unseeded Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi who overpowered Australian wildcard Madison Inglis 2-6, 6-2, 6-0.

American world number 30 Danielle Collins, who seems to raise her game in Melbourne where she was a semi-finalist three years ago, is also through to the last 16 after battling past tenacious Danish teenager Carla Tauson 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.

Collins, the 27th seed, was a set and 1-3 down against the emerging star before fighting back.

She now has a last-16 clash against the 2018 semi-finalist Elise Mertens, after the Belgian 19th-seed cruised past China’s Zhang Shuai 6-2, 6-2.

Medvedev, the de facto top seed after Novak Djokovic was deported on the eve of the tournament, faces a more conventional opponent in Dutch world number 57 Botic van de Zandschulp for a place in the last 16.

Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas is a potential semi-final opponent for Medvedev, but first he needs to get past seasoned French world number 56 Benoit Paire on Rod Laver Arena.

The last Brit standing had an unexpected day off on Thursday when his French opponent Arthur Rinderknech pulled out with injury giving him a walkover into the third round.

There is an intriguing clash between fifth seed Andrey Rublev of Russia and 2018 Melbourne Park finalist Marin Cilic of Croatia that has the potential to be a late-night classic on Margaret Court Arena.

dh/mtp

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