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
|Cordner signs bumper deal with Roosters|
|Lewandowski won´t be distracted by Real Madrid rumours|
|Bennett signs on until 2019 with England|
|Man Utd must not underestimate Sevilla - Navas|
|Coleman demolishes 20-year-old 60m world record|
|Red Bull reveal ´special edition´ livery on 2018 car|
|Iniesta will not be made welcome at Stamford Bridge, warns Azpilicueta|
|Ballack sees ´a big difference´ between Bundesliga and Premier League|
|Karmichael Hunt faces no conviction, but will remain sidelined|
|Betis boss would have preferred to face Madrid´s BBC|
|Chelsea v Barcelona: Messi´s blues against the Blues|
|James leaving Madrid was the best thing, says father|
|He´s looking good – Zidane thrilled with Ronaldo|
|It needs to take 30 seconds – Matic wants quicker VAR|
|Team LeBron edges Team Stephen in thrilling All-Star Game|
|McIlroy sees progress despite failing to contend at Riviera|
|Silver supports NBA players speaking out on social issues|
|Mickelson ready for Masters after third straight top-six finish|
|Gattuso: My job is to be the players´ nightmare until season´s end|
|I wasn´t good enough – Guardiola reveals Wigan rejection|
|Dillon reigns supreme with overtime win at Daytona 500|
|Bubba Watson ends drought with third Genesis Open title|
|Brazilian derby between Vitoria and Bahia abandoned after red-card frenzy|
|Anderson ends barren spell with New York Open triumph|
|It was crazy, but I like that - Zidane revels in eight-goal Betis thriller|
|Asensio credits Zidane for Madrid´s thrilling Betis comeback|
|Zidane hopeful over Marcelo hamstring injury|
|Overton replaces injured Plunkett for Blacks Caps ODI series|
|Bonaventura claims Milan can catch Inter|
|Bravo for Claudio! Guardiola to pick keeper at Wembley|
|Mourinho hoping for reinforcements at Sevilla|
|´Quick-healer´ Groves hopeful over shoulder injury|
|Real Madrid become first side to score 6,000 goals in LaLiga|
|Real Betis 3 Real Madrid 5: Asensio at the double in LaLiga classic|
|AC Milan 1 Sampdoria 0: Bonaventura makes it 10 unbeaten for Rossoneri|
|Schurrle excited to finally link up with Reus and Gotze|
|Fit-again Hughes included in England squad|
|New number one Federer revels in ´unbelievable´ week|
|Real Madrid defender Marcelo suffers hamstring injury|
|Costa fumes referees ´want to give me a card´, but Simeone plays down penalty row|
|Thiem regains Argentina Open title|
|Stoger makes Dortmund history with Gladbach win|
|Championship Review: Leeds fight back for point, Norwich & Ipswich share derby spoils|
|Racing beat La Rochelle to go second, Castres edge out Bordeaux|
|Borussia Monchengladbach 0 Borussia Dortmund 1: Burki unbeatable as Reus returns to haunt Foals|
|FA Cup ´magic´ no surprise to Pochettino after Rochdale thriller|
|Rochdale hero Davies: This is every kid´s dream|
|Atletico Madrid will not stop in pursuit of Barcelona, promises Gameiro|
|Banks boot pays dividends for Treviso|
|Lucky 13 and second successive title for Kvitova after Muguruza classic|
|´Wrong image´ to blame for VAR confusion in Manchester United´s FA Cup win|
|Rochdale 2 Tottenham 2: Davies denies Kane in FA Cup classic|
|Rieder stretchered off as Wasps extend Chiefs´ slump|
|Atletico Madrid 2 Athletic Bilbao 0: Gameiro and Costa settle cagey clash|
|NHL commissioner Bettman condemns ´reprehensible´ Smith-Pelly abuse|
|Visser, Scott and Nel among six recalled by Scotland|
|Bhuvneshwar and Dhawan inspire India´s Wanderers win|
|Napoli set club record with another Serie A win|
|Froome disappoints in time trial as Wellens wins Ruta del Sol|
|Napoli 1 SPAL 0: Allan sends hosts top of Serie A again|
|Federer makes short work of disappointing Dimitrov|
|Allegri allays Higuain injury fears|
|Blackhawks fans ejected after racist heckling of Capitals´ Smith-Pelly|
|Allegri convinced Juve can get past Spurs|
|Sri Lanka sweep series after dominating Bangladesh|
|Everton fear ´long-term´ injury for Mangala|
|If it isn´t Madrid, it´s Paris - Hazard tires of speculation|
|Luiten claims Oman Open title|
|Torino 0 Juventus 1: Champions win derby but lose Higuain|
|Neymar exit made Barcelona stronger - Ter Stegen|