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Friday June 18th, 2021 2:34PM

The Latest: Elise Mertens beats Bencic at Australian Open

By The Associated Press
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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest from the Australian Open (all times local):

6 p.m.

Elise Mertens continued her winning start to 2021 with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over 11th-seeded Belinda Bencic to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open.

The No. 18-seeded Mertens won a tuneup tournament at Melbourne Park in the week between players coming out of mandatory quarantine in Australia and when the year’s first major tournament started.

The 2018 Australian Open semifinalist will take a seven-match winning streak into her fourth-rounder against No. 25 Karolina Muchova.

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4:45 p.m.

Fourth-seeded Daniil Medvedev achieved a career first as he advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open, finally winning a match that went to five sets.

Medvedev was 0-6 in five-setters before his drought-breaking 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 3-6, 6-0 win over No. 28-seeded Filip Krajinovic, who had a 4-1 record previously in Grand Slam matches that went the full five sets.

The win stretched Medvedev’s winning streak to 17 matches, a stretch that includes the title at the 2020 season-ending ATP Finals.

Medvedev, the U.S. Open finalist last year, will next play Mackenzie McDonald, the unseeded American who beat Lloyd Harris in straight sets to equal his best Grand Slam result by reaching the round of 16 at the Australian Open.

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3:35 p.m.

Unseeded American Mackenzie McDonald has matched his best Grand Slam result by reaching the round of 16 at the Australian Open. He advanced when he beat Lloyd Harris 7-6 (7), 6-1, 6-4.

McDonald is a former top-60 player, but his ranking fell to No. 272 last year after he was sidelined for seven months by a hamstring injury. His ranking is back up to No. 192.

In women’s play, No. 22 Jennifer Brady of the United States beat qualifier Kaja Juvan 6-1, 6-3. Brady next takes on No. 28 Donna Vekic, who rallied to beat Kaia Kanepi 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4.

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1:40 p.m.

Unseeded American Jessica Pegula has advanced to the fourth round at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time by beating Kristina Mladenovic 6-2, 6-1 at the Australian Open.

Pegula, who is ranked 61st, lost the first six points but then began to dominate with her versatile game. She hit 21 winners to just 13 unforced errors and won eight points at the net.

The previous best showing at a Grand Slam by the 26-year-old native of Buffalo, New York, was a run to the third round at last year’s U.S. Open. Pegula will next play No. 5-seeded Elina Svitolina, who beat No. 26 Yulia Putintseva, 6-4, 6-0.

No. 6 Karolina Pliskova blew a 5-0 lead in the second set and lost to No. 25 Karolina Muchova 7-5, 7-5.

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11:40 a.m.

Day six is underway at the Australian Open, this time without fans.

The Victoria state government on Friday announced a five-day lockdown in response to a COVID-19 outbreak at a hotel. Up to 30,000 fans daily — 50% of capacity — had been admitted for earlier sessions.

Former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova faced Karolina Muchova in the first match in Rod Laver Arena.

Top-seeded Ash Barty of Australia was to play a night match Saturday against No. 29 Ekaterina Alexandrova. Three American women were on the schedule — No. 22 Jennifer Brady and two unseeded players, Jessica Pegula and Shelby Rogers

No. 2-seeded Rafael Nadal was to continue his quest for a men’s-record 21st major title Saturday night against Cameron Norrie. Other men in third-round action Saturday included No. 4 Daniil Medvedev, No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas, No. 7 Andrey Rublev, No. 9 Matteo Berrettini and the last American on the men’s side, unseeded Mackenzie McDonald.

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More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Tennis, AP Sports - Men's Tennis, AP Sports - Women's Tennis
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