Tennis

Halep close to '100 per cent' despite sleepless nights

World No. 1 Simona Halep said she was close to playing "100 per cent" despite her aching body giving her sleepless nights as she reached the Australian Open last eight yesterday.

Halep has spent a shade under eight hours on court in four matches in Melbourne, including an epic 3hr 44min against Lauren Davis on Saturday which the Romanian won 15-13 in the final set.

"First day after the (Davis) match was pretty okay," the Romanian said, after a 6-3, 6-2 victory over unseeded Naomi Osaka of Japan in 81 minutes.

"Last night was really tough. I couldn't sleep. I had pain everywhere. But I slept before the match two hours... I was, like, fresh after that. I felt good."

Halep, who last made it this far in 2015, said she had more confidence in her troublesome ankle that she rolled in her first-round match.

"Ankle is still sore. But, you know, I'm not thinking about that any more," she said.

"I saw that I can win matches with it. Maybe I get used to the pain and I'm not thinking that much that something can happen. Just taking every point.

"I'm trying to play 100 per cent, which I was close today, to run normal and to run a lot.

  • YESTERDAY’S SELECTED RESULTS

    • S. Halep (x1) bt N. Osaka 6-3, 6-2
    • K. Pliskova (x6) bt B. Strycova (x20) 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-2
    • M. Keys (x17) bt C. Garcia (x8) 6-3, 6-2
    • A. Kerber (x21) bt Hsieh Su-wei 4-6, 7-5, 6-2
    • R. Federer (x2) bt M. Fucsovics 6-4, 7-6(7/3), 6-2
    • T. Sandgren bt D. Thiem (x5) 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(7/4), 6-7(7/9), 6-3
    • Chung Hyeon bt N. Djokovic (x14) 7-6(7/4), 7-5, 7-6(7/3)
    • T. Berdych (x19) bt F. Fognini (x25) 6-1, 6-4, 6-4

"But I still feel it. It's there, but I can handle it."

Halep will meet sixth seed Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals tomorrow.

Halep, the top seed, had also reached the last eight in 2014 and 2015. She said: "Third-time lucky, maybe." - AFP