Monday, January 26, 2015

Australian Open Day 8: Venus downs Radwanska

Venus Williams, serving in last year's
Bank of the West Classic at Stanford,
reached her first Grand Slam quarter-
final since the 2010 U.S. Open.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Upset of the day -- No. 18 seed Venus Williams knocked off No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 today in Melbourne to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since a semifinal appearance in the 2010 U.S. Open. Williams, 34, has won seven major singles titles (five at Wimbledon and two in the U.S. Open) but was diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome, an autoimmune disease, in 2011.
   Match of the day -- No. 4 seed and defending champion Stan Wawrinka topped Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 7-6 (2), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (8) to advance to the final eight. Wawrinka, playing with a sore right elbow, trailed 5-0 and 6-2 in the fourth-set tiebreaker.
   Notable -- Top-seeded Serena Williams avenged her worst loss in a Grand Slam tournament by beating No. 24 Garbine Muguruza of Spain 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. During the first set, Williams struggled to breathe at times and had a coughing fit into a towel on a changeover, the Associated Press reported. Muguruza drubbed Williams 6-2, 6-2 in the second round of the French Open last year.
   No. 11 seed Dominika Cibulkova, last year's runner-up to since-retired Li Na, eliminated two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Azarenka was unseeded in the tournament for the first time since 2007 after missing much of last year with foot and knee injuries.
   Top-seeded Novak Djokovic beat Gilles Muller, a 31-year-old left-hander from Luxembourg, 6-4, 7-5, 7-5 in a late-night match.
   Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, the top seeds and two-time defending champions in women's doubles, lost to 16th-seeded Julia Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 in the third round.
   Men's quarterfinal matchups (seedings in parentheses) -- No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. Milos Raonic (8), No. 4 Wawrinka vs. No. 5 Kei Nishikori, No. 3 Rafael Nadal vs. No. 7 Tomas Berdych, No. 6 Andy Murray vs. Nick Kyrgios.
   Women's quarterfinal matchups --No. 1 Serena Williams vs. Cibulkova, No. 18 Venus Williams vs. Madison Keys, No. 3 Simona Halep vs. No. 10 Ekaterina Makarova, No. 2 Maria Sharapova vs. No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard.
   Stars and stripes -- In an all-American encounter, Keys overpowered Madison Brengle 6-2, 6-4. The United States has three women (the Williams sisters and Keys) in the quarterfinals, all in the top half of the draw. All U.S. men have been eliminated from singles and doubles.
   Three American women have reached the doubles quarterfinals: the fifth-seeded team of Raquel Kops-Jones from San Jose and Abigail Spears, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who's playing with Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic.
   Only three Americans entered mixed doubles, and only one, 41-year-old Lisa Raymond, remains after the first round. The 11-time Grand Slam doubles champion (six titles in women's doubles and five in mixed doubles) is playing with Sweden's Robert Lindstedt, who won the Australian Open men's doubles crown last year with Lukasz Kubot of Poland. 
   Northern California connection -- Top-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan lost in the third round of men's doubles for the second straight year. The 1998 NCAA champions from Stanford fell to 14th-seeded Dominic Inglot of Great Britain and Florin Mergea of Romania 7-6 (4), 6-3. Six of the Bryans' record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles titles have come in the Australian Open, more than anywhere else. 
   Both Serena Williams (singles) and Muguruza (doubles with countrywoman Carla Suarez Navarro) won titles in last year's Bank of the West Classic at Stanford.
   Brengle was the runner-up to Mayo Hibi, then 17, in the 2013 Sacramento Challenger. An ailing Brengle said at the time that she had been "throwing up all day." 
   Fast facts -- Venus Williams improved to 9-0 this year. She warmed up for the Australian Open by winning Auckland.
   Both Venus and Radwanska have younger sisters in professional tennis. Venus' sibling is fairly well known; Urszula Radwanska is ranked No. 149. 
   Quote -- Serena Williams: "(Muguruza) hits the ball really, really big. Someone in the crowd was like, 'C'mon, Serena, use spin,' and I was like, 'OK.' (There are) coaches everywhere out here. Thank you."

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