American great Serena Williams survived an early scare to overcome Christina McHale in three sets and advance to the ASB Classic quarter-finals.
A heavy underdog, the world No.88 McHale turned heads with a win in the first set, before top seed Williams found her rhythm and ultimately eased to a 3-6 6-2 6-3 victory.
Williams was broken twice early to concede the first set. It meant she had to go to three sets against 86th-ranked McHale for the third time in their four meetings, all of which the veteran has won.
Williams said the time on court was ideal as she builds towards her campaign for an eighth Australian Open and a record-equalling 24th grand slam crown.
"It was a good match for me," she said post match. "I really need to play matches like that to get to my goals."
"Tournament time is super-important, mmatch time is good. It's fun to be out here after losing that first set. I'm glad I'm still in the event."
Defending champion Julia Goerges continued her march towards back-to-back titles with a 6-3 6-2 win over Switzerland's Jil Teichmann.
Goerges will take on Caroline Wozniacki in the quarter-finals, after the Dane prevailed against Lauren Davis 6-1 4-6 6-4 in a superb back and forth duel to close out the day's play.
Earlier, US teen sensation Coco Gauff's bid for a quarter-final showdown with Williams came to an end, after falling to a 7-5 2-6 3-6 defeat to Germany's Laura Siegemund.
The 15-year-old edged a win in the opening set, before Siegemund fought back to claim the final two in clinical fashion and book her spot in the quarter-finals, where she'll take on Williams.
Gauff couldn't handle another blustery Auckland day and the dogged consistency of her lower-ranked opponent, finishing the match with 49 unforced errors and seven double faults.
Despite the urging of the crowd and regular rev-ups between games from father Corey, Gauff appeared rattled by her inability to find her timing.
The world No.67, who took the tennis world by storm by reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon in June, fought back from 5-3 down to claim the first set.
But her game then deserted her in her last singles match before making her Australian Open debut.