Hello and welcome to LIVE coverage from the last of today's women's fourth round clashes. Third seed Simona Halep takes on unseeded Belgian Yanina WIckmayer for the right to play Russian 10th seed Ekaterina Makarova in Tuesday's quarter-finals.
Y. Wickmayer vs S. Halep | Australian Open
Women Singles | Round 4 | 25.01.2015 | Melbourne
S. Halep (3)
Great peformance from Simona Halep tonight and she is through to her fourth quarter-final in five Grand Slams where she will face 10th seeded Russian Ekaterina Markarova on Tuesday.
Wickmayer 4-6 2-6 Halep. Game, set and match. The world number three serves out the match to 15 with an inside out, wrong-footing forehand winner across court before sealing the win a big serve down the centre of the court that Wickmayer can only return long.
Wickmayer 4-6 2-4 Halep. A fearsome forehand winner from Halep and she has another couple of break points. Wickmayer saves the first with an angled cross court forehand that takes Halep well outside the tramlines to play the ball, while the second goes begging when Halep nets a forehand. Halep earns herself yet another chance though as she picks up a ridiculously low ball and guides it down the line for a backhand winner. And this time the third seed does secure the double break when Wickmayer goes long with an inside out cross court backhand. Halep will serve for the match after the change of ends.
Wickmayer 4-6 2-4 Halep. There's no mistake this time around as Halep posts a love service game to consolidate the break. Very solid stuff from the Romanian but in this game it's more than she lets the Belgian go for the big shots and is content to take the point when Wickmayer misses.
Wickmayer 4-6 2-3 Halep. Break. Wickmayer goes long with a forehand approach shot to hand Halep a chance to extend her lead once again in this second set. And she's gets it at the first attempt when Wickmayer again goes long - hopefully challenging the call but shown to be wrong.
Wickmayer 4-6 2-2 Halep. Break. All out attack from Wickmayer as she earns herself two immediate break back points with some a series of ferocious forehands. The Belgian only needs the one to get things back on track, whipping a cross court forehand over the net on the angle and drawing the netted backhand into the highest part of the net from Halep.
Wickmayer 4-6 1-2 Halep. Break. Wickmayer can't find the court with a backhand and it hands Halep a break point at the same stage that she broke in the opening set. The Romanian finds the baseline with her cross court backhand once again, Wickmayer netting her resulting, off-balance backhand. The third seed marching on towards the quarter-finals now.
Wickmayer 4-6 1-1 Halep. Huge strength through the shoulders of Wickmayer as she levels at deuce with a driving backhand winner down the line after Halep's attempted wrong-footer off the backhand is anticipated by the Belgian. Wickmayer can't fashion a break point, though, and Halep holds with a backhand winner of her own.
Wickmayer 4-6 1-0 Halep. A great start to the second set from Wickmayer as she holds with a forehand drive volley winner down the line and booming forehand ground-stroke across court that Halep can only return along the ground and into the net.
Wickmayer 4-6 Halep. Set. A love service game from Halep, the first she has ever won off Wickmayer, is sealed with a service winner, ace and unreturnable. Fantastically high quality match so far between these two power hitters.
Wickmayer 4-5 Halep. Both players are peppering the lines so much that their winners-unforced errors count are roughly equal - eight on either side for Halep and 12 winners to 13 unforced errors for Wickmayer. Halep uses the wrong-footer on a backhand down the line to pull level with Wickmayer before a netted forehand from the Belgain hands her opponent a first set point. Wickmayer saves it with a cross court forehand winner off a mid-court ball and then also a second with a huge serve onto the line out wide followed by a cross court forehand that Halep cannot return in play. Well done, Wickmayer. She goes on to hold with a backhand winner down the line two points later to force Halep to serve for the set.
Wickmayer 3-5 Halep. Halep seems to be really struggling for rhythm when she slaps down another double fault and gifts the Belgian a 15-30 lead. But a completely makeable backhand volley at into the bottom of the net from Wickmayer helps Halep steady herself and she goes on to hold with an ace, initially called out but over-ruled on a hawkeye challenge as it caught the very back of the line - so little of the line in fact that Wickmayer needs to squint at the big-screen to be able to see it! The Belgian will have to serve to stay in this opening set.
Wickmayer 3-4 Halep. Fantastic hands from Wickmayer up at the net as Halep produces a fully stretched forehand passing shot which dipped over the net. But the Belgian anticipated the ball so well and dinks a forehand stop volley back over at an acute angle before producing another big serve that Halep can only return into the net. Wickmayer, the world number 80, still trails by a break but she seems to have Halep rattled a bit.
Wickmayer 2-4 Halep. Break. For a player of just 5'6", Halep packs quite a punch with the serve. But her first double fault costs her here as it allows Wickmayer back into the game and the Belgian gets the first of the breaks back with a huge step inside the baseline and booming cross court forehand winner.
Wickmayer 1-4 Halep. Break. Three big serves, three points to Wickmayer. But a forehand long and a running backhand down the line from Halep and the pressure is on the Belgian once again. The third seed uses that pressure to level at deuce with a forehand down the line that Wickmayer can only return back into the net before going well wide across court, wide even of the tramlines, with a cross court backhand to gift Halep another break point. Wickmayer saves it with a deftly executed sliced backhand drop shot but the Romanian gets another chance with a backhand return of serve dismissively rattled across court for a winner. Wickmayer saves by skidding the ball off the baseline but Halep gets the double break at the third chance when the Belgian throws in her second double fault.
Wickmayer 1-3 Halep. Wickmayer just looks a little unsettled after going behind by that early break and leans back on a forehand down the centre of the court which as a result sails long. And Halep seals a first love game with her first ace of the match, consolidating her early lead.
Wickmayer 1-2 Halep. Break. A double fault and a netted backhand, which Wickmayer plays while moving backward, hand Halep the initiative in the game at 0-30. The Belgian comes storming into the game with back-to-back forehand winners and a comfortable forehand volley winner after a very impressive pick-up off the drop shot from Halep at full stretch. But the Romanian keeps pummelling Wickmayer off both wings and eventually makes the breakthrough with an angled inside out forehand across court that her opponent cannot pull back into court.
Wickmayer 1-1 Halep. The Belgian hasn't quite found her range yet and follows up a couple of points where she overpowers Halep with a netted forehand return, a forehand long across court and another netted forehand return to help the Romanian hold from 30-all.
Wickmayer 1-0 Halep. It looks like a confident start from Wickmayer until Halep takes three straight points to earn herself an early break point. Wickmayer saves it with a booming first serve and an even bigger forehand that Halep can only hit long. The Belgian goes on to , albeit not at her first attempt, with another serve and forehand winner combo.
Right, the players are just about ready to go and it will be Wickmayer to get proceedings underway by serving first.