Australian Open 2022 - Danielle Collins fights back to beat Claura Tauson; Simona Halep, Aryna Sabalenka progress
Danielle Collins had to dig deep to pull out a fine comeback victory against Denmark's Claura Tauson, who knocked out No 6 seed Anett Kontaveit in the second round. Collins hit 33 winners in an emotionally charged contest. Simona Halep and Aryna Sabalenka are also through to the second week. Stream the 2022 Australian Open live and on demand on discovery+.
Highlights: Collins rallies from behind to beat Tauson in three sets
Collins said on-court afterwards: "A long battle today but super happy to be able to pull it out especially with how the first set ended.
"In moments I was not playing my best tennis so I was trying to figure out solutions to come up with some good stuff against Clara because I think she was playing really well and at an incredibly high level.
"We are going to see some really good results from her moving forward. It’s going to be exciting."
Tauson looked nervous at the start and went 4-1 down against her experienced opponent, but unforced errors began to creep into the American’s game and the Dane capitalised by reeling off five games in a row.
Collins held her opening service game in the second set, but Tauson would go a break up to make it 3-1, converting her second break point.
Collins, however, almost replicated what Tauson did in the first set by winning five of the next six games to set up a third set decider.
Both players engaged in a tense final set and Tauson was forced to save three match points on her own serve at 5-4 down, but she showed greater composure to keep the contest on serve.
At 6-5 up Collins got herself a further three match points on the Tauson serve and this time the American made no mistake, hitting a fierce backhand winner to seal her place in the last 16.
HALEP BREEZES PAST KOVINIC
Highlights: Halep eases past Kovinic in straight sets
Simona Halep is also through to the round of 16 with a comfortable 6-2 6-1 win over Danka Kovinic in one hour and four minutes.
Halep was vocal throughout, but she will be pleased to be quickly off the court on a hot day in Melbourne.
Halep will play Alize Cornet in the next round after the Frenchwoman beat No 29 seed Tamara Zidansek 4-6 6-4 6-2 on her 32nd birthday. Cornet will be making her first round of 16 appearance in Melbourne since 2009.
'What's your problem with me?' - Cornet gets in heated argument with umpire
The Romanian is yet to drop a set and is delighted to have beaten her Montenegrin opponent, who knocked out Emma Raducanu in three sets in the previous round.
“I feel great that I can play in the fourth round again,” she said.
“I always love to play in Australia which is why maybe I play good matches in front of this crowd it’s always pleasure. It’s super hot today.
“I feel like I played great. She was a little bit tired. She had a tough match before me but it’s always a big challenge to step on this court to give the best. I’m pleased with how I played and I’m looking forward to the next one.
“Today I did not look relaxed but I feel good and more confident now. Last year was a tough year so now I just enjoy playing tennis. I’m healthy so it’s a good thing I can come here and try my best.”
Halep was more powerful and quicker than her opponent, breaking the Kovinic serve three times in the opening set.
The second set was equally routine for the 30-year-old as she went a break up in the opening game before doing it a further two more times in the fifth and seventh games to secure an easy victory.
'I'm in a good spot' - Halep looking forward to Cornet challenge
SABALENKA THROUGH AS SERVING IMPROVES
Highlights: Second seed Sabalenka battles past Vondrousova in three sets
Aryna Sabalenka will play 36-year-old Kaia Kanepi in the fourth round after beating Marketa Vondrousova 4-6 6-3 6-1 on Margaret Court Arena.
The two-time Grand Slam semi-finalist has had issues with her second serve in her opening two matches, but managed to cut down on them overall and produced a good win over Vondrousova, who had not dropped a set heading into the third round clash.
The 23-year-old is through to the second week of the Australian Open for the second time and was pleased her serving did not let her down.
"I'm really happy that I only made 10 double faults," Sabalenka said with a smile after the win. The support was unbelievable today.
"She played unbelievable tennis today. I pushed myself really hard and I'm really happy with this win.
"I keep working on my serve and keep hoping that it's better with every match."
It looked as Sabalenka's serving issues would haunt her early on after losing her opening service game of the match, but she broke back to level at 3-3.
Vondrousova instantly followed up by breaking her for the second time to move into a 4-3 lead before holding onto her service games.
Sabalenka made seven unforced errors in the second set - a marked improvement from the 15 made in the first - and she crucially broke the Vondrousova serve in the second game before going on to make the slender advantage count.
Momentum was firmly with the No 2 seed heading into the decider and she broke the Vondrousova serve twice in the third and fifth games of a 35 minute set.
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