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Nadal, Halep roll on as shocks rattle Australian Open
World number one Rafael Nadal and Wimbledon champion Simona Halep dodged an exodus of seeded players as the shocks kept rolling at the Australian Open on Saturday.
Melbourne : World number one Rafael Nadal and Wimbledon champion Simona Halep dodged an exodus of seeded players as the shocks kept rolling at the Australian Open on Saturday.
After Serena Williams and title-holder Naomi Osaka fell by the wayside on Friday, second seed Karolina Pliskova crashed out on a day of carnage in the women's draw.
Switzerland's Belinda Bencic, the sixth seed, won only one game against Estonia's Anett Kontaveit, the world number 31, as she bombed 6-0, 6-1. And a resurgent Garbine Muguruza, a two-time Major-winner, thrashed fifth seed Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-2 as six of the top 10 women's seeds exited in round three.
Tenth seed Madison Keys lost to Maria Sakkari on Friday.
Croatian 19th seed Donna Vekic also crumbled to lower-ranked opposition when she lost 7-5, 6-3 to Poland's Iga Swiatek, who is returning from a stress fracture in her foot.
While the women's seeds fell, Nadal had few problems against fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta -- despite staying up to watch Roger Federer's thrilling late-night win over John Millman, which went to a fifth-set tie-breaker.
But he showed no signs of tiredness, racing through 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in just 1hr 38mins in what he called his "best match of the tournament so far, without a doubt".
Germany's Alexander Zverev dismissed Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 to set up a last-16 clash with Russia's Andrey Rublev, who remained unbeaten this year with his win over David Goffin.
Halep put away Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva 6-1, 6-4 to reach the last 16, where she will play Belgium's Elise Mertens, who won in three sets against CiCi Bellis -- ending the American's Grand Slam return from long-term injury.
Angelique Kerber, the 2016 champion, beat Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3 to set up a meeting with Russia's 30th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who knocked out Pliskova 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/3).