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Tennis news - Sloane Stephens overcomes valiant Petra Martic in two tie-breaks to reach last 16

Stephens overcomes valiant Martic challenge in two tie-breaks to reach last 16

18/01/2019 at 15:03Updated 18/01/2019 at 15:10

Sloane Stephens came through in straight sets against Petra Martic 7-6(6) 7-6(5) to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open for only the second time in her career on Friday.

Stephens prevailed in a first-set tie-break at the Margaret Court Arena, which was sealed with an unforced error from Martic and brought a shriek of joy from the American after an hour-long opener.

The number five seed showed her battling qualities as she immediately broke back after losing her second service game of the second set.

Petra Martic lost two tie-breaks to exit the tournament

Petra Martic lost two tie-breaks to exit the tournamentGetty Images

The Croatian was broken for a second time at 5-5 but Stephens was unable to serve out the match as Martic fought back to force a second tie-break.

Remarkably, it took until the seventh point for either player to hold serve as Stephens edged in front, and the American held her nerve on match-point number two to progress.

Having dispatched of the 31st seed, Stephens will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a place in the quarter-finals after the Russian beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich earlier on Friday.