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Sharapova out, Federer, Nadal, Murray advance into Australia Open quarter

English.news.cn   2014-01-20 20:16:02

MELBOURNE, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- World No. 3 Maria Sharapova was stunned out of Australia Open Monday by Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova.

She is the second shock in women's singles after world No. 1 Serena Williams was knocked out by Serbia's Ana Ivanovic one day earlier.

Sharapova was defeated in 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. With the ousting of two players among the top three, the defending champion Victoria Azarenka, who breezed past America's Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-2 and will face next the winner between Agnieszka Radwanska and Garbine Muguruza, is viewed as the favorite for the women's title.

China's Li Na, seeded fourth and a twice runner-up in the last three years, is regarded as a potential challenger.

Sharapova's loss continued her poor run since she lost to Williams in the French Open final last year. She was bundled out in the second round at Wimbledon and withdrew from the US Open with a shoulder injury.

Sharapova saved Cibulkova's first match point with a net cord that was shown by video review to have clipped the line.

She pushed a backhand wide on the second match point to lose in two hours and 12 minutes.

Cibulkova will meet Romania's Simona Halep, who eliminated Serbia's Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 2-6, 6-0, in the quarterfinal.

"The most important thing was that I went on the court 100 percent believing I could win," Cibulkova said.

"I kept going. I've beaten Maria before in the grand slams and the most important thing is to believe in yourself."

The Romanian complained about Sharapova's toss of ball, which is interpreted as rhythm disturbing.

"During the serve she was playing with the toss and all these things to make me wait for the serve a lot. I think she was trying to do a lot with the rhythm and to not let me go in my rhythm," said the 11th seed.

"When the match was coming to the end, I was getting like a little bit angry about that (ball toss). I was keep talking to myself, why she doing that? I thought it was on the purpose."

In the men's match, Roger Federer, seeded six, powered off Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 52 minutes, reaching the quarterfinal in Melbourne for an 11th consecutive year. The Swiss was on track for his best form in his splendid career, setting up a quarterfinal meeting with Andy Murray, who needed four sets to dispatch lucky loser Stephane Robert of France 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (6-8), 6-2 in two hours and 42 minutes.

Despite beating Federer at Roland Garros last year, Tsonga couldn't get close to the 17-time grand slam champion who produced his most impressive showing of the championship and provided evidence he can be a threat among an all-star last eight.

"It's been a different type of tournament," said Federer. "It's been fun, it's been a good ride. I thought I played really well tonight. You've got to bring your best game (against Tsonga), because he dictates play a lot. I think I did a good job dictating play."

Rafael Nadal made through to the quarterfinal by overcoming 16th seed Kei Nishikori 7-6 (7-3), 7-5, 7-6 (7-3), facing next Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.

Nishikori was in fine form but the powerful Spaniard was too much for the Japanese, eventually taking a long and tough three-setter which lasted over three hours.

Dimitrov, the 22-year-old 22nd seed, showed character beyond his years to overcome the unseeded Spaniard Bautista-Agut 6-3, 3-6 ,6-2, 6-4 in two hours and 24 minutes.

Coached by Lleyton Hewitt's former trainer Roger Rasheed, Dimitrov recovered from 0-30 down at 4-4 in the fourth set to hold serve and set up a chance to win the match.

He took that chance with combative stroke play, breaking Bautista-Agut to close out a four-set victory.

Dimitrov's serve was a major asset, slamming 11 aces with his fastest at 219kph.

Editor: Shen Qing
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