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Martic into 4th round at Australian Open

Petra Martic has overcome searing heat and the aggressive approach of Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum to advance to the last 16 at the Australia Open.

Kumkhum dominated the winners’ count 44-16 but the the consistency of Martic proved crucial as the unseeded Croatian advanced 6-3 3-6 7-5 in a match lasting two hours and 10 minutes.

It was a double celebration for Martic, who turned 27 on Friday.

It was very tough today,” she said.

“Two days ago I was already struggling so I was mentally better prepared for these conditions.

But today was really just try your best and survive until the end.”

Kumkhum lost no admirers as she continued to go for winners throughout the match on Rod Laver Arena.

“She’s a great player,” said Martic, who missed last year’s Open while recovering from a serious back injury.

“When you give her pace she’s hitting winners all over the place.

“So I tried to rely a bit more on my serve in the third set and it worked out.”

Martic will play either Frenchwoman Alize Cornet or Belgian Elise Mertens in the fourth round on Sunday.

Czech journeywoman Denisa Allertova moved into the last 16 at a major for the first time with a commanding 6-1 6-4 win over Poland’s Magda Linette.

Allertova was among four women to advance from the qualifying draw all the way to the third round.

Her reward was a round of 16 encounter against either No.4 seed Elina Svitolina or the Ukrainian’s teenage compatriot Marta Kostyuk.

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