MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Highlights of the eighth day at the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, on Monday (times AEDT; GMT+11):

1253 HALEP CRUISES INTO QUARTERS

Fourth-seeded Simona Halep reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the 14th time in her career with a convincing 6-4 6-4 win over Elise Mertens. The 2018 runner-up won 74% of points on her first serve and made only eight unforced errors.

1240 NADAL LEADS TRIBUTES TO BRYANT

World number one Rafa Nadal was among several players who paid tribute to NBA great Kobe Bryant, who was killed at age 41 on Sunday in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others on board.

“I woke up this morning with the horrible news of the tragic death of one of the greatest sportsman in the world… Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and other passengers. My condolences to his wife and families. I am in shock,” Nadal tweeted.

1100 HALEP ON COURT AS FANS AWAIT KYRGIOS-NADAL SHOWDOWN

Wimbledon champion Simona Halep is first up on Rod Laver Arena seeking to make her fourth quarter-final at Melbourne Park against Belgium’s Elise Mertens.

Double Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza ends the day session on the main showcourt before the blockbuster clash between local hope Nick Kyrgios and Rafa Nadal in the evening.

There should be no disruptions to play with no chance of rain and a mild high of 23 Celsius (73.4 Fahrenheit) expected.

(Compiled by Greg Stutchbury and Shrivathsa Sridhar; Editing by Kim Coghill and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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