Third seed Maria Sharapova has been dumped out of the Australian Open with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 fourth-round loss to Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova on Rod Laver Arena.
Sharapova’s demise came a day after Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic beat world number one and title favourite Serena Williams, also in the fourth round.
Federer, Nadal through
Sixth-seeded Roger Federer has equaled Jimmy Connors record by reaching his 41st Grand Slam quarterfinal with a 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
It was also the 11th straight year the Swiss star has reached the quarters at Melbourne Park. He will now face Wimbledon champion Andy Murray who beat Stephane Robert’s 6-1, 6-2, 6-7, 6-2.
Top-ranked Rafael Nadal has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open after a 7-6, 7-5, 7-6 win over Kei Nishikori of Japan.
Nadal is trying to win the Australian Open for the second time – his first title came in 2009 – and secure the 14th major of his career, equal with Pete Sampras and three behind Roger Federer’s leading total of 17.
In the women’s draw, defending champion Victoria Azarenka, though, swept into the quarter-finals with an 18th straight victory at Melbourne Park.
Her 6-3 6-2 victory over Sloane Stephens had none of the edge of last year’s semi-final, when the Belarusian took a medical timeout after blowing five match points, and she sealed a comfortable win in 91 minutes.
The world’s top-ranked doubles pair, Bob and Mike Bryan, suffered their earliest Australian Open exit in more than a decade when they lost 7-6, 6-4 to American Eric Butorac and South Africa’s Raven Klaasen in the third round.
“It’s frustrating, we like coming down here and starting the year hot,” Mike Bryan told reporters.
“I don’t think we played terribly, just the margins are really small. We’re a front-running team and (if we won the tiebreak) we probably win that in straight sets but all credit goes to those guys, they served tough.”