ANOTHER UPSET AS WORLD NO. 2 FALLS AT AUSTRALIAN OPEN

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova secured her first career victory in seven attempts over world No. 2 Karolina Pliskova on Saturday (Jan 25) as the Australian Open lost another high seed in the third round.

Russian Pavlyuchenkova battled to a 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-3) win over the second-seeded Czech, who joined defending champion Naomi Osaka and 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams in making third-round exits.

Pavlyuchenkova had a 4-1 lead in the first set and a 2-0 lead in the second before being taken to tiebreaks but won the key points to clinch victory in 2hr 25min.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m still in the match and focusing on the next point,” Pavlyuchenkova said. “I was thinking that if I take one or two games on her serve that would be amazing because she is the ace queen on the tour so that was my goal, so I was focusing on returning well.

“I also managed to hold on my serve too, so that helped.”

She will next meet three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber in the fourth round after the German beat Italy’s Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3 on Margaret Court Arena.

Meanwhile, Simona Halep proved too strong for Kazakh Yulia Putintseva in their first career meeting as the Romanian fourth seed sailed through to the fourth round with a 6-1, 6-4 win.

Former word No. 1 Halep, who reached the Melbourne Park final in 2018, broke Putintseva’s serve three times in the first set and twice in the second.

Putintseva, ranked 38th in the world, broke Halep once in each set and surprised her opponent with some well-disguised drop shots, though her last attempt hit the net to end the match.

Twice Grand Slam champion Halep, 28, will next meet the winner of the third-round match between Belgian No. 16 seed Elise Mertens and American Catherine Bellis.

-Reuters