Angelique Kerber is the only Grand Slam singles winner still on track in the Australian Open women's draw. On the men's side, Roger Federer is in cruise control.
Angelique Kerber remains the only Grand Slam singles winner in the Australian Open women's draw after avoiding a major upset.
For a while it appeared Kerber's progression could unravel against No. 88 Hsieh Su-wei, a former top-ranked doubles player with a double-handed grip on both sides.
With a mix of slice and chips, lobs and bunts, whippy half-volleys and wristy crosscourt ground strokes off both wings, Taiwan's Hsieh pushed Kerber to the extremes and unsettled her rhythm.
But the former No. 1 held her composure and finally got a succession of breaks to finish off the second set and dominate the third in a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory Monday afternoon.
"Credit to her. She played an unbelievable match," said Kerber, who won the Australian and US Open titles and reached No. 1 in 2016. "I was feeling I was running everywhere."
Hsieh has won two Grand Slam doubles titles, and was ranked No. 1 in doubles in 2014. At age 32, she was the oldest woman still in the singles draw, and possibly the wiliest.
"I like to play freestyle," Hsieh said. "Like today I go on the court, if I don't have a plan then I do whatever I can."
The win earned Kerber a quarterfinal spot against US Open finalist Madison Keys.
Keys returned to the quarterfinals in Melbourne for the first time in three years with a 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 8-seeded Caroline Garcia, and is yet to drop a set so far.
Top-seeded Simona Halep has had her troubles in Melbourne, including first-round exits in 2016 and '17 and having to rally from triple match point down to advance through the third round this time.
The two-time French Open finalist, who is also contending with a left ankle injury, beat Naomi Osaka 6-3, 6-2 to return to reach the quarterfinals here for the third time.
Federer in cruise control
Defending champion Roger Federer cruised through to the Australian Open quarterfinals for the 14th time, accounting for Marton Fucsovics 6-4, 7-6 (3), 6-2.
The 19-time major winner had never played Fucsovics but had beaten his coach — Attila Savolt — here in the second round in 2002.
Federer will renew a lengthy rivalry next against Tomas Berdych, who returned to the quarterfinals for the seventh time at Melbourne Park with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win over Fabio Fognini.
Federer leads their career head-to-heads 19-6, including all four times they've met in Melbourne and in the Wimbledon semifinals last year.
The win over Fucsovics was Federer's first day match of the 2018 tournament, and he joked about needing sunglasses and a towel for the beach but said really the only change was to set the alarm for a different time.