Day seven of the Australian Open saw some superb tennis, and a record setting ladies marathon match, but there were few surprises in Melbourne Park.
In the ladies draw, past champion Maria Sharapova’s interest in the 2011 edition is over after a fourth round defeat. In the men’s tournament, Roger Federer continued to look vulnerable, but made progress once more, while former men’s champion, Novak Djokovic, was the most impressive victor on a day. The Serbian cruised through his match to set up a quarter final matchup with Tomas Berdych.
The day opened with ladies top seed, Caroline Wozniacki, advancing to the quarter finals. The world number one defeated Latvian, Anastasija Sevastova. Wozniacki struggled in the opening exchanges, falling behind 3-1 in the opening set, but found her composure to reel off five games and take the opening set.
After taking the opening set it looked as though Wozniacki would clinch the match with minimum fuss, but the Danish star was inconsistent throughout the second set and made a series of unforced errors. With Sevastova’s confidence rising there was reason to feel confident about the world number 45 forcing a deciding set. Ultimately Wozniacki’s experience saw her find her form once more , and win 6-3, 6-4, to advance to a quarter final against Francesca Schiavone.
Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova played out a record setting match that lasted four hours 44 minutes, making it the longest in ladies Grand Slam history. Schiavone, the reigning French Open champion, saved six match points before clinching her quarter final berth 6-4, 1-6, 16-14. Both players were understandably exhausted when the match concluded and it will be a massive challenge for Schiavone to get ready, physically and mentally, for the challenge of facing Wozniacki in the quarter finals.
Li Na, a semi finalist last year, was particularly impressive in defeating Victoria Azarenka. The Belarusian struggled to contend with Na from the start with the Chinese number one coming out a 6-3, 6-3 victor. It was a surprisingly one sided match, Azarenka hit just 12 winners, and Na will be rewarded with a quarter final against Andrea Petkovic in the next round. The German saw off former champion, Maria Sharapova, in straight sets.
In the men’s draw, reigning champion, Roger Federer, dropped the second set before defeating Tommy Robredo. By booking his place in the quarter finals Federer equalled Jimmy Connors achievement of reaching this stage of a Grand Slam for the 27th consecutive time. He will play compatriot, Stanislas Wawrinka, in an all Swiss quarter final. Wawrinka was very impressive in his defeating seventh seed, Andy Roddick, in straight sets.
Novak Djokovic wasted little time in his match against Nicolas Almagro. The Serbian had a trouble free day as he dominated his opponent to win 6-3, 6-4, 6-0. Djokovic has looked in great form throughout the opening week and looks to have recaptured the form that saw him win the title in 2009.
Tomas Berdych, the sixth seed, was another fourth round winner. The Czech defeated Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.