Simona Halep made it through to the Australian Open quarter-finals for a fourth time with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Elise Mertens.
Halep appeared to be cruising after winning the first set and going up a service break in the second, but Mertens broke back to level the second set at 4-4.
Halep responded by converting her fifth break-point chance in the next game and served out at love to clinch the match.
“It’s a great performance by myself to play again a quarter-final. I’m really happy to go through. I got a little bit nervous but I was strong enough to finish the match,” said Halep, the runner-up here two years ago.
Halep will next meet Estonia’s 28th-seed Anett Kontaveit in the last eight after she rallied from a set and a break down to beat 18-year-old Iga Swiatek 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 7-5, despite being broken twice while serving for the match.
Kontaveit has only played Halep twice, back in 2017 when the Romanian first topped the world rankings.
The Estonian lost the matches in Rome and Miami in straight sets and knows she will have her work cut out against the fourth seed in Melbourne.
“Simona’s so tough so I’ll probably have to do everything well,” she said. “I have nothing to lose so I’ll just go out and give it my all.”
Garbine Muguruza reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final since the French Open in 2018 with a 6-3 6-3 victory over ninth seed Kiki Bertens.
After thumping Elina Svitolina in the last round, she has now won back-to-back matches against top-10 opposition for the first time in three years.
Nice to be back in QF ðŸ”¥#AO2020 pic.twitter.com/ZtzsFC66Ev
— Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (@NastiaPav) January 27, 2020
Muguruza is unseeded here after her ranking dropped outside the top 30 but her talent has never been in question and the former Wimbledon and Roland Garros winner powered into the last eight where she will meet Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.