Quarterfinal field was completed on Monday at the Australian Open, as Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Anett Kontaveit won their fourth-round matches in the bottom half of the draw, joining Ashleigh Barty, Petra Kvitova, Sofia Kenin and Ons Jabeur who advanced on Sunday. The final eight features as many as four Grand Slam champions, including two reigning champions, while the other four players will try to reach their first major semifinals.
Fourth seed and reigning Wimbledon champ Simona Halep was a break up in the first set and two breaks up in the second, and even though Belgian 16th seed Elise Mertens rallied both times, the Romanian got into higher gear and eventually served out at love to clinch the match, 6-4 6-4.
Halep will next play first-time major quarterfinalist Anett Kontaveit, as the 28th seed recovered from a set and a break down and held off a superb deciding-set fightback to beat promising Polish teenager Iga Swiatek 6-7(4) 7-5 7-5.
Seed No.30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova recovered from giving up a 5-2 lead in the first set to take out 17th-seeded Angelique Kerber, the last former Melbourne titlist left in the draw. After winning the second set in a tiebreaker, Pavlyuchenkova broke serve immediately on the way to a 4-0 lead in the decider and an eventual 6-7(5) 7-6(4) 6-2 win. The offensive Russian fired 71 winners to 36 unforced errors during the match.
Next up for Pavlyuchenkova will be two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza, unseeded at a major for the first time since the 2014 French Open, who beat ninth-seeded Kiki Bertens 6-3 6-3.