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

06:46  22 january  2022
06:46  22 january  2022 Source:   afp.com

Fit-again Halep battles into Melbourne semi-finals

  Fit-again Halep battles into Melbourne semi-finals Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep laboured into the last four of the Melbourne Summer Set Friday to stay on track for a final showdown with Naomi Osaka. There are two simultaneous WTA events being run as part of the Melbourne Summer Set. At the other event, American Amanda Anisimova came through a tough test against Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 to set up a last-four clash against 26th-ranked Russian Daria Kasatkina who beat Spain's Nuria Parrizas Diaz 7-5, 6-1.In the other quarter-finals, American Ann Li faces Russian Kamilla Rakhimova and Swiss teenager Clara Tauson is up against Belarus' Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

World number two Daniil Medvedev steps up his march towards the Australian Open men's title later but the early action on Saturday was dominated by the resurgent former finalist Simona Halep, who swept into the second week in Melbourne.

Romania's Simona Halep was in insatiable form again as she swept into the last 16 on Saturday © Martin KEEP Romania's Simona Halep was in insatiable form again as she swept into the last 16 on Saturday Russia's Daniil Medvedev celebrates after beating Australia's Nick Kyrgios in the second round © William WEST Russia's Daniil Medvedev celebrates after beating Australia's Nick Kyrgios in the second round

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.

Naomi Osaka withdraws from Melbourne tournament with abdominal injury ahead of 2022 Australian Open

  Naomi Osaka withdraws from Melbourne tournament with abdominal injury ahead of 2022 Australian Open Osaka withdrew from her semifinal match to rest the injury and prepare for the first Grand Slam of the year"Sad to withdraw due to injury from my match today, my body got a shock from playing back to back intense matches after the break I took," read a Twitter post by Osaka.

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.

The fit-again Halep came into the tournament full of confidence after her first title in 16 months earlier this month at a Melbourne warm-up event and was always in charge.

"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.

Seeded 14, Halep has been in insatiable form, dropping just nine games in her opening two matches, and she carried it into her clash against the 27-year-old.

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.

2022 Australian Open betting preview: Is Novak Djokovic a fade?

  2022 Australian Open betting preview: Is Novak Djokovic a fade? It’s already been an eventful affair with the drama surrounding world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, his vaccination status and whether he should play. Djokovic is still listed as the No. 1 seed of the ATP draw as of Thursday, but a lot can change from now until the start of the tournament. If Djokovic plays he has a solid chance at reaching another Australian Open final, which is his most successful Grand Slam event. Djokovic has won 20 Grand Slam titles and nine at the Australian. He enters as the reigning champ and is on his second three-year winning streak at the event. Djokovic has never won four straight Australian Opens.

"It was mostly about survival," said Cornet, who produced a stunning upset of world number three Garbine Muguruza in round two.

"The Australian heat is brutal and I can't believe I won."

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka, who has been plagued by poor serving in Australia, was later playing 31st seed Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic.

The Belarusian dished up 19 double faults in scraping through her second-round match against China's Wang Xiyu in three sets on Thursday and can't afford a repeat.

- Last Brit standing -

In the men's draw, US Open champion Medvedev cemented his status as tournament favourite by overcoming the mercurial Nick Kyrgios in four sets in a raucous second-round encounter.

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.

Medvedev and Zverev can push Djokovi

 Medvedev and Zverev can push Djokovi © provided by Sports.co.uk It could soon give up its place of n ° 1 world. When will the Novak Djokovic Calvary stop? Forced to declare for the Australian Open and leave the country on the eve of the tournament, the Serbian has not only lost an opportunity to win a 21st title in Grand Slam. It could also give up its place of n ° 1 world. Two players can take advantage of the "Djoker" setbacks to seize the throne: Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev.

But he will not take his opponent lightly. "Grand Slams are tough, there are going to be tough opponents," said Medvedev.

"Sometimes you lose early, sometimes you lose late, sometimes you win it. I just want to play really good."

With Andy Murray and Raducanu out, the weight of British expectation now falls entirely on the shoulders of 24th seed Dan Evans.

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.

Evans faces in-form ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, who was part of Canada's ATP Cup-winning team in Sydney earlier this month.

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.

Cilic pushed Roger Federer to five sets in the final four years ago and the big-serving 27th seed is capable of upsetting anyone.

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

Paire, the world number 56, is looking to equal his best at a Slam by reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open for the first time.

dh/mtp

Peng Shuai: Australian Open relaxes rule against protest T-shirt .
The Australian Open will allow people to wear shirts that say "Where is Peng Shuai?" CEO of Tennis Australia Craig Tiley told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Tuesday. © Andy Brownbill/AP China's Peng Shuai reacts during her first round singles match against Japan's Nao Hibino at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia on Jan. 21, 2020. His comments come several days after security guards shut down a small protest in support of the Chinese tennis player, in which protesters unfurled a banner saying, "Where is Peng Shuai?" and also wore T-shirts with the slogan.

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