World number one Simona Halep survived a titanic tussle as she outlasted Lauren Davis to reach the Australian Open fourth in a record-equalling marathon Saturday.
In a clash for the ages, Halep prevailed 4-6 6-4 15-13 to equal the record for the longest women's match based on games played at the Australian Open – 48 set by Chanda Rubin and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in 1996.
Halep had three chances to close it out in the final set, while the Romania star also saved three match points down 11-10 to the unseeded American, who lost a toenail, as she triumphed after three hours, 45 minutes in Melbourne.
Bidding to win her maiden grand slam in the absence of 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams, Halep – through to the fourth round of the Australian Open for the first time since 2015 – will face either 18th seed Ashleigh Barty or Naomi Osaka in the next round.
Halep and Davis were greeted with much cooler conditions in Melbourne following back-to-back days of scorching temperatures – Friday reaching 42 degrees celsius – and it made for great tennis on Rod Laver Arena.
Davis, flying the American flag alongside Madison Keys following early exits for Venus Williams, US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Coco Vandeweghe, went toe-to-toe with Halep, who won the pair's previous meeting at Indian Wells in 2013.
She worked Halep around the court with some fine groundstrokes and winners down the line, though she came unstuck in the fifth game, broken to 30 as the latter took a 3-2 lead.
But Halep was unable to consolidate, double-faulting to gift the break straight back to Davis, who continued to find winners down the line and she went on to close out the first set on her opponent's serve.
Halep dug deep in the second set, doing what she was unable to do in the first set – breaking in the third game and consolidating as she levelled the match.
Halep looked set to push on to the fourth round, taking a 3-1 lead, but Davis was not overawed, the 24-year-old continuing to play her shots and breaking at the fifth time of asking in the sixth game to level at 3-3 in the final set.
The break of serves continued as Halep failed to clinch the match at 5-4, 6-5 and 8-7, while Davis then wasted three match points in the 22nd game in her attempt to reach the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time in her career.
The never-ending clash finally came to a conclusion when Halep broke in the 27th game before crucially holding serve as the clock closed in on the four-hour mark.
Halep  bt Davis 4-6 6-4 15-13
Halep – 27/39
Davis – 52/73
Halep – 4/4
Davis – 0/7
BREAK POINTS WON
Halep – 7/22
Davis – 6/16
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Halep – 73
Davis – 60
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Halep – 65/53
Davis – 70/38
Halep – 158
Davis – 145
|Shohei Ohtani has mixed results in MLB debut|
|Mustafi wary of De Bruyne threat in EFL Cup final|
|Chumba and Dibaba reign supreme at Tokyo Marathon|
|Curry, Durant help Warriors dominate Westbrook´s Thunder|
|Coman suffers ankle injury in Bayern draw|
|I was right to turn down Man City move in 2016, says Laporte|
|Tiafoe wins two matches in a day to reach Delray Beach final|
|Navas not surprised by Ronaldo´s Benzema gesture|
|Ausilio: Contract talks with Inter´s Icardi done in silence|
|Mourinho tells McTominay to follow his heart amid international headache|
|I play for France´s biggest club – Marseille star Payet fires barb at PSG|
|Clippers owner says team traded Griffin for ´chemistry´ reasons|
|Ben Stokes returns to face New Zealand in opening ODI|
|Main priority was to win - Spalletti praises Inter´s ´heart´ after beating Benevento|
|Verdasco to meet Schwartzman in Rio Open final|
|Father fuels Conte´s fire ahead of Mourinho reunion|
|Tiger Woods shoots first sub-70 round since 2015|
|Valverde steers clear of Barcelona yellow card controversy|
|Montpellier pull clear of Racing in Top 14|
|Connacht bring Benetton back to earth|
|Butler suffers meniscus injury but Timberwolves ease ACL fears|
|Play like it´s a friendly - Guardiola reveals finals secret ahead of Arsenal clash|
|Barcelona equal record for unbeaten LaLiga run|
|Jones fronts up after Scotland smash England|
|Wales disappoint Gatland: We were the creators of our own demise|
|Inter 2 Benevento 0: Nerazzurri pick up much-needed win at San Siro|
|Barcelona 6 Girona 1: Suarez treble and Messi masterclass settle Catalan clash|
|Messi makes Girona 36th LaLiga victims to set new record|
|Nigeria demolish Rwanda in FIBA qualifying|
|Jonker shines but India still seal T20 series|
|Deeney ´not bothered´ after ending drought from open play|
|Tigers back to business after Hardaker departure|
|Championship Review: Fulham beat Wolves, Sunderland hold Boro in ill-tempered thriller|
|Lions bounce back to win, Schoeman leaves it late for Bulls|
|Russell eyes Six Nations title after inspiring Scotland to win over England|
|Watford 1 Everton 0: Stunning Deeney finish moves hosts six clear of trouble|
|Benitez rues missed chances as Newcastle lose two-goal lead|
|Heynckes ´can live´ with home Bayern draw|
|Ronaldo is a team player - Zidane hails Real Madrid star´s Benzema gesture|
|West Ham fans reference Hitler in protest at club´s owners|
|Dyche dismayed by decisions before Gabbiadini goal|
|Russell´s redemption comes as Scotland seal rare England win|
|Wagner impressed with Huddersfield´s commitment after vital win|
|No place like home for Schmidt as Ireland leave it late to sink Wales|
|Liverpool win had everything – Klopp enthuses over West Ham´s Anfield rout|
|Khachanov sets up Pouille final after Berdych upset|
|Dunk equals record for own goals in a single Premier League season|
|Chiefs return to winning ways in thriller|
|Real Madrid 4 Alaves 0: Ronaldo at the double as ´BBC´ delight|
|Burnley 1 Southampton 1: Gabbiadini grabs late leveller|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 4 Swansea City 1: Two-goal Murray helps end Swans´ unbeaten run|
|Bournemouth 2 Newcastle United 2: Hosts in thrilling fightback after Gayle double|
|West Brom 1 Huddersfield Town 2: Van La Parra and Mounie seal vital win|
|Liverpool 4 West Ham 1: Salah nets again as Reds climb to second|
|Svitolina retains Dubai crown as Kasatkina runs out of steam|
|Ill Neymar included in PSG squad for Le Classique|
|Bayern Munich 0 Hertha Berlin 0: Lewandowski´s run ends as leaders are held at home|
|Ireland see off Wales in Dublin thriller to stay perfect|
|Gattuso surprised by AC Milan´s growth since taking over|
|Lambert defends ´best goalkeeper in Britain´ Butland after own goal error|
|Stokes expected to face Black Caps|
|Mkhitaryan, Ozil potential excites Mertesacker|
|A-League Review: Perth Glory in dramatic win, Melbourne Victory end losing streak|
|Leicester City 1 Stoke City 1: Butland howler costs Potters|
|Matic insists Man Utd can still do ´big things´|
|Fisher´s birdie streak secures share of Qatar Masters lead|
|Chinese Super League transfer window makes Simeone ´uncomfortable´|
|Ingolstadt score bizarre tap-in after Duisburg goalkeeper goes AWOL|
|Allegri cautious over Dybala fitness despite Higuain injury|
|Napoli´s Zielinski better than De Bruyne, claims Boniek|