No. 2 Roger Federer handles heat, cruises at Aussie Open

Chung Hyeon of South Korea reacts after winning against Alexander Zverev of Germany at the Australian Open Saturday. — Reuters

Gael Monfils said he was "dying" on court, Caroline Garcia's feet were burning up and Dominic Thiem couldn't wait to get in an ice bath as Melbourne's searing summer heat played havoc at the Australian Open on Thursday.

Halep, a former quarter-finalist, will next play Naomi Osaka in her quest for a maiden Grand Slam title after the Japanese star beat Australia's Ashleigh Barty.

But with temperatures touching an energy-sapping 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) and ice-towels in use, third seed Garbine Muguruza and 2014 victor Stan Wawrinka both wilted and were knocked out. Notably, the title in Sydney earlier this month was her first since the 2016 US Open title. But not this time.

Sharapova, who split meetings with the sticky, tricky Sevastova past year, their previous encounter going over three hours, appeared to be running away with it this time, closing out the first set in 23 minutes.

'This court is special for me and I was trying to enjoy every point, ' Kerber said of Rod Laver Arena, where she beat Serena Williams in the 2016 final.

But 2014 Melbourne victor Wawrinka showed that he still needs more recovery time after his summer knee operation, falling to American Tennys Sandgren 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in 88 minutes with 35 unforced errors.

Being unseeded means she has her work cut out to reach another final, with a host of hurdles in her way.

Next up is in-form 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber, who beat Donna Vekic in two easy sets as she starts to rediscover her best again after a miserable past year.

The match did not even start well for the Russian as she lost the first game of the match and Kerber dominated ever since.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his match against Spain’s Albert Ramos Vinolas at the Australian Open Saturday. — Reuters
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his match against Spain’s Albert Ramos Vinolas at the Australian Open Saturday. — Reuters

The Frenchwoman, who had a breakout year in 2017, winning two titles, eventually got over the line 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 8-6 in nearly two-and-a-half hours. "We know that", he said.

Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska, a semi-finalist twice in the past four tournaments at Melbourne, needed three sets to see off Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko as she won 2-6 7-5 6-3.

Hsieh, who knocked out third seed Garbine Muguruza in round two, followed up with an assured victory over the Polish former World No. 2 6-2, 7-5 in an hour and 39 minutes.

American woes continued with Madison Brengle sent packing by British ninth seed Johanna Konta. I learnt a lot from the last 24 months, I had a great 2016, previous year was a little tougher.

But No 13 seed Sam Querrey was not so fortunate.

But Canada's Milos Raonic, who has made at least the last eight over the past three years in Melbourne, was bundled out by 86th-ranked Slovakian Lukas Lacko in four sets.

Chung's feat also makes him only the third South Korean player - man or woman - to reach the round of 16 at a Grand Slam. Definitely it squeezes you, because it puts you under so much pressure with the heat, then you rush.

In other matches, fourth seed Alexander Zverev plays fellow German Peter Gojowczyk and 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka continues his comeback from a lengthy injury lay off against Tennys Sandgren.

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