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Sunday, January 26, 2020, 15:01
More champions exit Australian Open women's draw
By Xinhua
Sunday, January 26, 2020, 15:01 By Xinhua

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic makes a forehand return to Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova during their third round singles match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Jan 25, 2020. (DITA ALANGKARA / AP)

MELBOURNE - More champions tumbled out of the women's draw on day 6 of the Australian Open on Saturday, this time the victims were current World No 2 Karolina Pliskova along with top ten seeds, Belinda Bencic and Elina Svitolina.

I was kind of close both sets -- well, a lot close, and I think I was still able to somehow win this match if I at least played a little bit better. But unfortunately I didn't.

Karolina Pliskova, tennis player

They joined Serena Williams and defending champion Naomi Osaka who both bowed out in the third round the day before.

Pliskova went down in straight sets to Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-3), with the Czech player rueing not stepping up her performance in the tiebreaks.

"I was kind of close both sets -- well, a lot close, and I think I was still able to somehow win this match if I at least played a little bit better. But unfortunately I didn't," Pliskova said.

ALSO READ: Wozniacki ends career after Australian Open loss

Meanwhile fifth seed Svitolina went down to Spain's Garbine Muguruza, 6-1, 6-2, while sixth seeded Bencic was sent packing by Estonian, Anett Kontaveit, 6-0, 6-1.

Japan's Naomi Osaka makes a backhand return to Coco Gauff of the US during their third round singles match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Jan 24, 2020. (LEE JIN-MAN / AP)

Bencic explained that upsets were a part of the sport, and a consequence of not coming into the tournament on top form.

"It's the same in every Grand Slam, there is upsets, and I think it's normal, because it's tennis, and tennis is very unpredictable," she said.

Bucking the trend was Romanian World No 3, Simona Halep, who won her tie against Kazakh Yulia Putintseva, 6-1, 6-4, to progress to the final 16.

In the men's draw, Russia's Karen Khachanov lost in an epic match that came down to a fifth set tiebreak to Aussie favorite Nick Kyrgios, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (6-8), 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-8).

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal stepped up a gear to beat fellow countryman, Pablo Carreno Busta, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.

The World No 1 told Xinhua after the match that he felt he had found better form, describing the match as an important step towards the second half of the tournament.

"It was my best match of the tournament so far, without a doubt. Big difference between today and the previous days," Nadal said.

READ MORE: Wang stuns Williams, Osaka out on day 5 of Australian Open

Austria's Dominic Thiem makes a backhand return to Taylor Fritz of the US during their third round singles match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Jan 25, 2020. (ANDY BROWNBILL / AP)

"I have been serving well, starting to create damage with the forehand. Hitting serve on one shot."

Also moving through on day 5 of the competition was Austrian Dominic Thiem who beat American Taylor Fritz, 6-2, 6-4, 6-7, (5-7), 6-4, while French player Gael Monfils defeated Latvia's Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-3.

Monfils and Thiem will play each other in the next round on Monday, while Nadal will face Kyrgios.

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