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Top seed Kerber blasts into Open fourth round

Update: January, 20/2017 - 11:30
World No 1 and reigning champion Angelique Kerber wasted no time in racing into the fourth round of the Australian Open with a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Kristyna Pliskova on Rod Laver Arena on Friday. — AFP Photo
Viet Nam News

MELBOURNE – World No 1 Angelique Kerber set up a last-16 clash at the Australian Open with American Coco Vandeweghe on Thursday after blowing Kristyna Pliskova off court in the third round.

The German defending champion, who was taken to three sets in her opening two rounds, smashed the hapless Czech 6-0, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena.

Earlier, Volatile Coco Vandeweghe extended Eugenie Bouchard’s Grand Slam misery when she ousted the Canadian comeback queen in a three-set epic.

The 35th-ranked American beat the unseeded Bouchard, battling back after her high-flying career plunged into a tailspin, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in the third round.

She will next face Kerber for a place on the quarter-finals.

"I got a bit passive with my game plan in the second set but I was able to turn it around by playing on my own terms," said the 25-year-old.

Asked about a potential clash with Kerber, she replied: "She is just another opponent in the way of my goal for this tournament."

The American right-hander has a reputation for being hot-tempered and there was always the chance of fireworks.

She threw a temper tantrum in her second-round clash against Pauline Parmentier, slamming her racquet into the ground three times when she gave away a break point.

It was the second time in as many weeks that her frustrations had boiled over, pulling a similar stunt at this month’s Sydney International.

But despite her fiercely competitive nature, she largely kept her emotions in check against the Canadian, only throwing down her racquet once, but not smashing it.

The match opened with plenty of gruelling, physical rallies as they bombarded each other from the baseline probing for an opening.

It didn’t come until the seventh game when Bouchard double-faulted to go 4-3 behind, before the American served out the set.

But Vandeweghe’s serve wasn’t consistent and successive double faults handed Bouchard a break to go 2-0 ahead in the second set and ultimately level the match at one set each.

The momentum was with the Canadian and she broke early in the deciding set, but Vandeweghe was not done and Bouchard sprayed a forehand long in the eighth game to set up a thrilling finale.

She held her nerve, and a sizzling backhand down the line put her into Australia’s last 16 for the first time, after reaching the same stage at Wimbledon in 2015 and 2016.

For Bouchard, 22, it is back to the drawing board after the end of a promising run.

She made the semi-finals at Melbourne Park in 2014 and the quarters a year later but has never regained those heights, with her last fourth round appearance at any Grand Slam coming at the US Open in 2015. — AFP

 

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