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Australian Open tennis: Elise Mertens, Pablo Carreno Busta through to last 16

Elise Mertens and Pablo Carreno Busta won their respective matches to reach the last-16 stage of the Australian Open tennis tournament.

tennis Updated: Jan 19, 2018 11:42 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse, Melbourne
Elise Mertens,Pablo Carreno,Australian Open
Belgium's Elise Mertens waves after defeating France's Alize Cornet in their Australian Open tennis encounter.(AP)

Elise Mertens reached the fourth round of the Australian Open in straights sets Friday after a dramatic match in which her opponent Alize Cornet needed a doctor.

Belgian world number 37 Mertens won 7-5, 6-4 in just over two hours of energy-sapping tennis on Hisense Arena as temperatures touched 40 Celsius (104 Farenheit).

“It’s hot,” said the in-form Mertens, who is coming off a successful title defence at Hobart last week and is now into the last 16 of a Grand Slam for the first time. “The toughest I have had.”

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It was her French opponent however, who wilted in the heat in distressing scenes with the score at 2-1 in the second set.

Cornet was struggling to breathe as her blood pressure and pulse were monitored by the doctor on court during a medical timeout.

Ice towels were applied and ice packs rubbed over her face, arms and legs in a frantic attempt to cool the player ranked 42.

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Cornet sat with her eyes closed, gasping for breath before resuming, clearly still wobbly.

She somehow recovered enough to fight back from 5-2 down to 5-4, saving three match points in the final game which went to five deuces before her gutsy resistance was ended.

“Credit to her for keeping going,” said Mertens, who threw her racquet down in disgust after spurning her third match point, only to scream with joy a few moments later when she finally sealed the deal.

Mertens now faces Petra Martic for a place in the quarter-finals after the Pole edged Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

Tough win for Carreno Busta

Spanish 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta reached the round of 16 for the first time at the Australian Open with a four-set victory over Gilles Muller on Friday.

Pablo Carreno Busta celebrates his victory during the third round match against Gilles Muller. (AFP)

Carreno Busta, a semi-finalist at last year’s US Open, won 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 in a 3h 18min match played out in the heat of the day on Margaret Court Arena.

The Spaniard, who won the exhibition Kooyong Classic event in Melbourne last week, will face either Croatia’s sixth seed Marin Cilic or American Ryan Harrison in Sunday’s fourth round.

In a tight contest, Carreno Busta broke Muller’s left-handed serve twice and lost his just once along with 48 winners and just 22 unforced errors.

It was Carreno Busta’s third win over the 28th-ranked Muller in as many meetings.

First Published: Jan 19, 2018 11:42 IST