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Sport: Fit-again Halep battles into Melbourne semi-finals

Nadal arrives in Melbourne ahead of Australian Open

  Nadal arrives in Melbourne ahead of Australian Open Rafael Nadal revealed on Friday he had arrived in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open after recovering from coronavirus. The 35-year-old Spaniard, whose only win at the tournament came in 2009, tweeted a photo of himself on an empty court at Melbourne Park with the comment 'Don’t tell anyone… … here I am'. The 20-time Grand Slam champion tested positive for Covid-19 after returning home from an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, saying he had experienced "some unpleasant moments".

Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep laboured into the last four of the Melbourne Summer Set Friday to stay on track for a final showdown with Naomi Osaka.

Simona Halep is through the semi-finals of the Melbourne Summer Set event © Mike FREY Simona Halep is through the semi-finals of the Melbourne Summer Set event

The former world number one, whose season was blighted by injury last year, overcame Switzerland's Viktorija Golubic 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena, but it was a hard slog.

"It was really difficult I have to admit," said Halep, who missed Roland-Garros, Wimbledon and the Olympics last year with a calf injury and ended her season early due to a knee issue.

"I didn't believe I could win this match but I fought till the end and I'm very proud of this."

Open from Australia: Novak Djokovic "knew the conditions" to enter Australia, reacts Rafael Nadal

 Open from Australia: Novak Djokovic after his return to the victorious competition in Melbourne, Rafael Nadal spoke on the misadventures of Novak Djokovic. © Supplied by FranceInfo Rafael Nadal, Trombur of the Lithuanian Berankis 6-2, 7-5 to the 2nd round of the Melbourne tournament, Thursday, January 6, showed few emotions with regard to the situation of Novak Djokovi , blocked by the Australian authorities for a visa problem.

She was in charge in the first set but her killer instinct deserted her in the second, broken when serving for 5-3 then again when serving for the match, racking up 23 unforced errors.

They traded breaks in the third set until Halep dug deep, saving four break points in the seventh game then breaking in the ninth to clock a tough win.

Now ranked 20, she will play Zheng Qin-wen in the last four after the 126th-ranked Chinese player upset Croatia's Ana Konjuh 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (8/6).

Top seed Osaka faces veteran German Andrea Petkovic later Friday while Veronika Kudermetova takes on fellow Russian Anastasia Potapova in the other quarter-finals.

Halep was an Australian Open finalist in 2018 when she lost to the now-retired Caroline Wozniacki, and said having time on Rod Laver Arena Friday was great preparation.

"I'm really happy I have the chance to get used to this court and this atmosphere. It's nice to be back and to be actually fit even if I didn't play my best tennis today," she said.

There are two simultaneous WTA events being run as part of the Melbourne Summer Set.

At the other event, American Amanda Anisimova came through a tough test against Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 to set up a last-four clash against 26th-ranked Russian Daria Kasatkina who beat Spain's Nuria Parrizas Diaz 7-5, 6-1.

In the other quarter-finals, American Ann Li faces Russian Kamilla Rakhimova and Swiss teenager Clara Tauson is up against Belarus' Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

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Medvedev aims to march on as resurgent Halep sweeps into last 16 .
World number two Daniil Medvedev steps up his march towards the Australian Open men's title later but the early action on Saturday was dominated by the resurgent former finalist Simona Halep, who swept into the second week in Melbourne. Paire, the world number 56, is looking to equal his best at a Slam by reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open for the first time. dh/mtpHalep swatted aside Danka Kovinic, the conqueror of US Open champion Emma Raducanu, 6-2, 6-1 in just 64 minutes and will face French veteran Alize Cornet on Monday for a place in the quarter-final.

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