Belgian Mertens into Australian Open last eight

Elise Mertens (Getty)
Elise Mertens (Getty)

Melbourne - Elise Mertens became the first Belgian to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open since Kim Clijsters in 2012 with a straight sets win over Petra Martic on Sunday.

The unseeded world number 37 edged the big-serving Croat 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 in almost two hours of baseline war on Margaret Court Arena.

In-form Mertens is making her Australian Open main draw debut and is on an nine-match win streak after making a successful title defence in the warm-up event in Hobart just over a week ago.

"I've had an amazingly good start to the year," she said after having to grind out victory after leading 4-0 in the first set and being broken in the second when serving for the match for a first time.

She could next face another in-form player, fourth seed Elina Svitolina who won the Brisbane International warm-up.

The Ukrainian will first need to get through a late match against qualifier Denisa Allertova.

Mertens is in uncharted territory in her fifth appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam.

She has only once before got past the opening round in a major, at Roland Garros last year when she reached the third round.

Results from the Australian Open on Sunday:

Men's singles

4th round

Marin Cilic (CRO x6) bt Pablo Carreno-Busta (ESP x10) 6-7 (2/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/0), 7-6 (7/3)

Women's singles

4th round

Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) bt Anett Kontaveit (EST x32) 4-6, 6-4, 8-6

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x2) bt Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK x19) 6-3, 6-0

Elise Mertens (BEL) bt Petra Martic (CRO) 7-6 (7/5), 7-5

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