MELBOURNE – Unseeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova ground down American fifth seed Sloane Stephens to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals in a late-night epic that ended in the early hours of Monday.
The World No 44 beat Stephens 6-7 (3/7) 6-3 6-3 to set up a last-eight clash with another American, Danielle Collins, who knocked second seed Angelique Kerber.
“I really appreciated that some of you guys stayed,” said the Russian, who also made the quarter-finals in 2017.
“I heard someone was yawning during the match, though, so I’m sorry. I thought it was quite an exciting match, but anyway, I’m happy I stayed awake.”
Former US Open champion Stephens took an early break in a match that began at 11.23pm on Sunday due to yet another scheduling logjam at the season-opening Grand Slam.