Simona Halep finally topples Lauren Davis after epic 143-minute final set

Ruben Hill
January 20, 2018

The third set took 2:22 and momentum swung, with 11 service breaks and two medical timeouts - for Davis to get treatment for toes on both feet - before Halep converted on her first match point.

The Romanian world number one, suffering with ankle problems, finally managed to serve out at the fourth time of asking after three hours and 44 minutes of incredible action that brought a standing ovation from Rod Laver Arena. "It's the only match that I played like this".

"I'm nearly dead", Halep said in an on-court interview.

"There's a ton of positives. after this I'm just gonna really focus on all that I did well and just how well I handled myself at this tournament".

Halep conceded she could not feel her dodgy ankle by the end of the match, which she injured in the first round of the tournament.

It equaled the longest women's singles match at the Australian Open in terms of games played: Chanda Rubin's win over Arantxa Shanchez Vicario in 1996 was also 48 games.

It eclipsed the 3hr 1min that fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu took to defeat Ekaterina Makarova of Russian Federation 3-6, 6-4, 8-6 in the first round on Monday.

Three times the top seed served for a place in the fourth round at 5-4, 6-5 and 8-7 and three times Davis broke back.

In a match dominated by serve, Pliskova fired down 11 aces and offered up only one break point opportunity as she reached the last 16 for the second successive year.

She will play American 17th seed and 2017 US Open runner-up Madison Keys who progressed with a 6-3 6-4 win over Romania's Ana Bogdan. Incredibly, the Hungarian had not won a Grand Slam match before this year's Australian Open - finally coming of age at 25.

Australian 18th seed Ash Barty and Japan's Naomi Osaka will battle later on Saturday - their match was originally pencilled in for 3.30pm - for the right to face Halep in the fourth round on Monday. "That makes me very happy, and I think the big win is that I could handle it".

Keys is the only one of the four American women who reached the semifinals at the U.S. Open last September still in contention in Melbourne - Stephens, Venus Williams and CoCo Vandeweghe were all eliminated in the first round.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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