Unseeded Czech Barbora Strycova was the belle of the Australian Open ball on Saturday, moving into the fourth round after a 6-3, 6-2 upset over world No. 3 Garbine Muguruza Blanco of Spain.
“The plan was just to play the best tennis I can and hang in there,” said Strycova, who hadn’t won a set off Muguruza in two previous meetings.
Muguruza pitched in with 32 unforced errors to Strycova’s 16. The Czech will next face the streaking No. 14 seed Victoria Azarenka, who put down a challenge from Japan’s Naomi Osaka 6-1, 6-1.
“I will enjoy myself first, because I just beat the No. 3 in the world,” Strycova said of facing Azarenka. “Of course, later we will watch some balls and think about what I’m gonna do on Monday. But first I just want to enjoy that I won today.”
Also upset-minded was No. 21 seed Ekaterina Makarova who ousted No. 9 Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-2.
“We’ve played before and I beat her all three times, but it’s always a tough match,” said last year’s semifinalist Makarova, who kept her unforced errors in the match to 15. “She’s been serving really well, and I needed to stay solid and fight for every point.”
Makarova will next meet unseeded Brit Johanna Konta, who on Saturday topped Czech Denisa Allertova 6-2, 6-2.
Players actually upholding their seeding on Saturday were No. 7 Angelique Kerber drubbing American Madison Brengle 6-1, 6-3, and No. 15 Madison Keys coming from set down to beat No. 20 Ana Ivanovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Ivanovic led 6-4, 1-0 when Nigel Sears, her coach and the father of Andy Murray’s wife, collapsed in the stands and was eventually carried off on a stretcher. Read more here.
When play resumed Ivanovic took a 6-4, 4-2 lead before Keys won the next four games and the second set. In the third Ivanovic failed to capitalize on a 3-0 lead.
“I had a little bit of a slow start in the third, but I managed to kind of get it back and figure it out, fight back and get the win,” Keys said. “It was just trying to get one more ball, just stay in it, make her win it and not give it to her.”
Keys in the fourth round will take on China’s unseeded Zhang Shuai, an easy 6-1, 6-3 winner over American Varvara Lepchenko. Kerber will next face German Annika Beck, who beat compatriot Laura Siegemund 6-0, 6-4.
Matches on Sunday in Melbourne will be (5) Maria Sharapova vs. (12) Belinda Bencic, (1) Serena Williams vs. Russian Margarita Gasparyan, (10) Carla Suarez Navarro vs. Aussie Daria Gavrilova, and (4) Aggie Radwanska vs. Anna-Lena Friedsam.
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