World number one Simona Halep and American Lauren Davis produced arguably the best match of the Australian Open thus far on Saturday.
The enthralling 48-game battle equalled the longest-ever Australian Open women’s match in terms of games, with Halep prevailing 15-13 in the third set after 3 hours and 44 minutes on court.
Halep survived three match points at 0-40 and 10-11 down in the deciding set, but managed to fight her way out of trouble, an achievement she credits to her new found competitive spirit.
“I think in the past I would not have fought that hard,” she said.
“When she had those match [point] balls, I may have lost.”
It was a match of high quality tennis right from the outset, with the American jumping the world number one to take the first set 4-6.
Halep hit back in the second, prevailing 6-4, taking the match to a third and deciding set.
In a remarkable set, Halep served for the match on three seperate occasions, only to be broken by Davis each time.
However, after securing the break to move to 14-13 lead, Halep served out the match, claiming victory over the valiant Davis in an epic encounter.
“I’m almost dead,” Halep said during an on court interview .
“I feel that my muscles are gone. My ankle, I don’t know how , because I don’t feel it any more.
Halep will now meet Japan’s Naomi Osaka in the fourth round after she defeated Australia’s Ash Barty in straight sets.