Australian Open: Bouchard, Berdych advance to 4th round
Eugenie Bouchard struggled through a scrappy opening set before getting on top in a 7-5, 6-0 third-round win over Carolina Garcia that featured 10 breaks of serve on Friday at the Australian Open.
There were six service breaks by the time the scores were level at 4-4, but seventh-seeded Bouchard started finding rhythm late and got the crucial break in the 12th game.
"Yeah, I don’t think it was the prettiest tennis out there," said Bouchard, who reached the semifinals in her first trip to Melbourne Park last year and went on to make the semifinals or better at two of the other three majors in a breakthrough season. "I wasn’t playing great tennis in the first. I feel like she was putting some pressure on me and I really didn’t feel like I got a rhythm. But I’m happy that I just kept going. Even if it wasn’t going so well, I was able to turn it around."
The 20-year-old Canadian had a growing band of supporters at Rod Laver Arena, waving the flags and signs and drawing laughs from the crowd with their chants that use well-known tunes with the lyrics tweaked.
Third-seeded Simona Halep advanced with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Bethanie Mattek-Sands, missing twice when she served for the match in the eighth and 10th games before finally serving out.
Halep, who opened the season by winning the Shenzhen Open in China, will next play Yanina Wickmayer, who beat No. 14-seeded Sara Errani 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
"Here I started last year to play my best tennis. I (reached) my first quarterfinal in Grand Slams … then I made final in French Open," Halep said. "I have more confidence now during Grand Slams and I believe I have my chance at every tournament."
No. 10 Ekaterina Makarova had a 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 22 Karolina Pliskova and No. 21 Peng Shuai beat Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6 (7), 6-3 to move into a possible fourth-round showdown with No. 2 Maria Sharapova, who was playing No. 31 Zarina Diyas in a night match.
Seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych became the first man to advance to the fourth round when he beat Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, and No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov had a tough third-rounder against 2006 Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis before winning 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Berdych, who lost the 2010 Wimbledon final and reached the semifinals here last year, needed eight match points to clinch it, most of them in the penultimate game when Troicki held serve. He finished it with an ace.
"It looks not very nice on the paper — mostly, all of them on a big first serve," Berdych said. "It was a great save from him. I needed to wait one more game … when the first chance came up, I served well and took it."
Andy Murray beat Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-1, 6-1, 7-5 to set up a 4th-round clash with Grigor Dimitrov.
The sixth-seeded Murray is attempting to become the first man to win the Australian Open after losing three times in the final. He lost to Novak Djokovic in 2013 and 2011 and Roger Federer in 2010.
His next match against the 10th-seeded Dimitrov will be a reprise of their Wimbledon quarterfinal last year, won by the Bulgarian.
With coach Amelie Mauresmo watching from the stands, Murray has yet to drop a set at Melbourne Park.
He said, "I’ve played three quite quick matches, which helps. You expect with every round they’re going to get a little longer, tougher on the body."