Friday was a successful day for Grand Slam champions at the 2021 Australian Open, as Simona Halep, Iga Swiatek, Naomi Osaka, Garbine Muguruza and Serena Williams all advanced to the fourth round.
After recovering from 5-2 down in the final set to beat Ajla Tomljanovic in the previous round, second seed Simona Halep delivered a more convincing performance against Veronika Kudermetova to book a place among the last 16.
Kudermetova came to Melbourne on a career-high ranking of No.36, fresh off her runner-up finish in Abu Dhabi. Halep comfortably won the first set against the 32nd-seeded Russian and even though the favorite was twice a break down in the second set, overall it was a straightforward victory for her, 6-1 6-3.
Halep’s fourth-round opponent will be seed No.15 Iga Swiatek, as the reigning French Open champion defeated new Lacoste representative Fiona Ferro 6-4 6-3.
Earlier on Friday, tenth seed Serena Williams overcame a sluggish start and saved two set points to defeat Russian world No.101 Anastasia Potapova 7-6(5) 6-2. For a place in the quarterfinals Williams will play seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka, a red-hot Belarusian who has won 23 of her past 26 matches on Tour.
Third seed Naomi Osaka beat Ons Jabeur 6-3 6-2 in a match in which both players struggled for rhythm and will next face fellow multiple Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza, who cruised past Zarina Diyas 6-1 6-1 in the third round.