Austalian Open 2018: Sharapova, Zverev, Del Potro exit; Federer, Djokovic advance to next round

Roger Federer
Roger Federer Reuters

The record crowd of over 87,000 people that packed into Melbourne Park on Saturday to see Day six of the Australian Open were not disappointed. There were a number of high profile exits -- of Maria Sharapova, Alexander Zverev and Juan Martin Del Potro, some come-from-behind victories and an epic three-setter that equaled the tournament's all-time record for the most games played in a women's match.

World No.1 Simona Halep narrowly made it through to the round of 16 after edging out American Lauren Davis in a grueling war of attrition that ended 4-6, 6-4, 15-13, reports Xinhua news agency.

Following the gripping encounter, both women explained that neither had ever played a match that came close to the exhausting battle.

Despite the loss, Davis has definitely won herself some new fans after the incredible effort that saw her play on even after losing a toenail during the contest.

Angelique Kerber demolished a lackluster Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 in a clash between two former World No.1s and previous Australian Open champions.

Karolina Pliskova overcame fellow Czech player Lucie Safarova 7-6(6), 7-5 and local favorite Ashleigh Barty succumbed to the power-hitting of Japan's Naomi Osaka, who won 6-4, 6-2

Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, the 8th seed, defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

In the men's bracket, last year's winner Roger Federer, dispatched Richard Gasquet in straight sets, while Novak Djokovic impressed as he eased his way to victory over world number 21 Albert Ramos Vinolas and Dominic Thiem cruised into the last 16 after defeating Adrian Mannarino.

Federer prevailed 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 over Gasquet. "Maybe I protected my own serve a little bit better than him. Richard played well and me too. I'm happy to win tonight," Federer said while reflecting on the game after the match.

The Swiss great, who advances for the 16th time to the Australian Open round of 16, is set to face Marton Fucsovics of Hungary, who defeated Argentina's Nicolas Kicker 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.

Six-time Australian Open champion Djokovic won 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 despite needing a medical timeout to massage his lower back and left hip after the third game of the second set, reports Efe.

"I knew coming into the match that Albert is a great fighter. He grinds, he gets a lot of balls back," Djokovic said after the win.

Seeking a record seventh title in Melbourne, Djokovic is set to take on South Korean Chung Hyeon, who stunned German fourth seed Zverev 5-7, 7-6 (7-3), 2-6, 6-3, 6-0.

Zverev spat the dummy in his match with South Korea's Hyeon Chung, receiving a code violation after smashing his racket.

Although the German won the first set, Hyeon had success when he attacked the net and fought back to win the 5-set thriller.

It's the first time the 21-year-old has made it into the fourth round at a Grand Slam.

Former U.S. Open winner Del Potro of Argentina also crashed out, after losing in straight sets to Tomas Berdych. The Czech won 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 to earn a place in the fourth round of the Australian Open for the 10th time.

After two hours and 16 minutes, Berdych ended Del Potro's best run in Melbourne since 2013, as the Argentine had struggled with left wrist issues in recent years.

Berdych is set to play Italian Fabio Fognini, who defeated Frenchman Julien Benneteau 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 in three hours.

Austria's Dominic Thiem, meanwhile, avoided any surprises, defeating French Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 6-2, 7-5.