The 2016 champion routed Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 in a third-round win that showcased her credentials as a title contender and ensured she'll be the only Grand Slam champion still playing in the second week in the women's draw.
The Rod Laver Arena evening clash between the only two Grand Slam winners left in the women's draw had the feel of a showpiece final rather than a third-round clash but it was Kerber who rose to the occasion.
Photo Sharapova, a former No. 1, is closing in on a top-40 ranking, but she has not gone past the fourth round in the two majors she has played since returning last season from a 15-month suspension for an antidoping violation.
Dark horse David Goffin's Australian Open hopes went up in smoke as he fell to a 1-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 7- 6 (7-4) to French veteran Julien Benneteau while Juan Martin del Potro fired 60 winners on his way to a 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (0-7) 6-4 victory over young Russian Karen Khachanov.
The 30-year-old is coached by Wim Fissette after the Belgian split with Johanna Konta at the end of last year, and she arrived in Melbourne having won the Sydney title.
The Swiss defending champion headlines Rod Laver Arena in the evening, with the 19-time Grand Slam victor tackling France's Richard Gasquet. I felt the pain all match, but I didn't give up.
There were 11 service breaks and two medical timeouts - for Davis to get treatment on both feet - before Halep converted on her first match point. "I will try to continue my run and playing good like I played also here like the last two matches".
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"I'm here because I'm motivated to get better at my craft".
"Angie is already one step ahead of everybody else because nobody else knows what it's like to win a Grand Slam", said the Australian Rennae Stubbs, a television analyst and former player. "I just think the double-hander is easier".
Halep will play the victor of Saturday's later match between local hope Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka. No. 20 Barbora Strycova beat U.S. qualifier Bernarda Pera 6-2, 6-2, leaving U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys as the only American woman to reach the fourth round.
Kyrgios is now the only Australian with a chance to take an Open singles title.
Fognini will next play the victor of a later match Saturday between Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin del Potro.
Another loss at a major had the highly-touted Zverev admitting he may have a problem.
"It feels fantastic. I was ready to leave on Monday and then they told me I'm in, so I was obviously excited, " Pera said. His defence moved through another round with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win over No. 29 Richard Gasquet.
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