Victorious Halep ignoring the exit of fellow Open seeds
REIGNING Wimbledon champion Simona Halep has charged into the second week of the Australian Open and says she is ignoring the exit of fellow top seeds.
Halep, a finalist at the 2018 Australian Open, took just over an hour to down unseeded Kazakh Yulia Putintseva 6-1 6-4 in Saturday's third-round match on Rod Laver Arena.
With world No.2 Karolina Pliskova falling to Russian underdog Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Halep is the highest seed left on her side of the women's draw.
But the Romanian fourth seed is paying no mind to the shock exit of Pliskova, nor highly touted contenders Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams and Belinda Bencic.
"I'm not focusing on other players," Halep said.
"I'm just focusing on myself. I know that this level, it is really tough every match, so we have to be 100 per cent focused for what we have to do on court.
"(It) doesn't matter who is winning, who is losing. I have just to do my job when I step on the court."
Runner-up to Carolina Wozniacki in 2018, Halep was pleased to return the fourth round at Melbourne Park for a third straight year and insisted the Wimbledon crown wasn't weighing heavily on her expectations.
"It's been a great year last year winning Wimbledon, but here it is a different tennis," she said.
"So I'm ready. I was ready when I came here, so I'm just enjoying every match I play.
"I give everything I have to win and actually I'm really, really happy that I'm in the second week now."
The gritty baseliner fell at the last-16 hurdle last year, losing a tight three-setter to Williams.
She'll likely have an easier assignment on this occasion, facing the victor of the Elise Mertens-CiCi Bellis clash on Monday.