Another day another huge upset in the women’s draw: yesterday Serena Williams was defeated by Ana Ivanovic and today it was Maria Sharapova’s turn: Sharapova was ousted by 20th seed Dominika Cibulkova.
No problem for Victoria Azarenka and Agnieszka Radwanska who proved too strong for Sloane Stephens and Garbine Muguruza.

In men’s action, Rafael Nadal struggled to get past Kei Nishikori as a rejuvenated Roger Federer made a quick work of Australian Open 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Stat of the day: 11

Roger Federer will make his 11th straight Australian Open appearance

Tweet of the day: Nadal’s shoelace

 

Matches to follow on Day 9:

Li Na (4) – Flavia Pennetta (28)
Eugenie Bouchard (30) – Ana Ivanovic (14)
David Ferrer (3) – Tomas Berdych (7)
Stanislas Wawrinka (8) – Novak Djokovic (2)

Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Jelena Jankovic, Simona Halep, Sloane Stephens and Dominika Cibulkova advance to the fourth round.
The only surprise came from Garbine Muguruza, who won her first WTA tour event in Hobart earlier in the month as a qualifier and has knocked out 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki in the third round. She’ll play Agnieszka Radwanska next.

Grigor Dimitrov beats Milos Raonic in 3 sets to reach his first ever 4th round at a Slam. He next faces Roberto Bautista Agut who followed his upset win over Juan Martin del Potro with a straight sets victoy over Benoit Paire.
Andy Murray defeats Feliciano Lopez for the eight time in eight match and will meet lucky loser Stéphane Robert in the last 16.
Roger Federer advanced to the fourth round for the 13th consecutive year following his win over Teymuraz Gabashvili. He’ll face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who beat countryman Gilles Simon for a place in the quaterfinals.
Kei Nishikori beat Donald Young, the last American man in the singles draw in straight sets. His next opponent: Rafael Nadal who dismantled Gael Monfils 6-1 6-2 6-3.

Seeds upsets:

Garbine Muguruza def Caroline Wozniacki (10), Roberto Bautista Agut def Benoit Paire (27)

Video highlights:

Video of the day: Famous. Favored. Fallen.


Matches to follow on Day 7:

Serena Williams (1) – Ana Ivanovic (14)
Fabio Fognini (15) – Novak Djokovic (2)
Stanislas Wawrinka (8) – Tommy Robredo (17)

Li Na and Maria Sharapova secure their spot in the semifinals with victories over Agnieszka Radwanska and Elena Makarova.

Nicolas Almagro leads by two sets to love, serves three times for the match, but falls to David Ferrer in 5 sets. Nerves anyone?
Disappointing performance by Tomas Berdych who loses to gluten-free Djokovic in 4 sets.

Agnieszka Radwanska and Li Na qualifies for the quarterfinals.
5th seed Angelique Kerber loses to Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets. Her next opponent: Maria Sharapova who dispatched Kirstens Flipkens 6-1 6-0.

On the men’s side, David Ferrer schools Kei Nishikori and will meet fellow countryman Nicolas Almagro in the quarters. Berdych beats Kevin Anderson.

Stanislas Wawrinka leads 6-1 5-2, serves to lead 2 sets to love, and then is a break up in the fifth set but Djokovic recovers to win 1-6 7-5 6-4 6-7 12-10 in about 5 hours. But of course he’ll be up and running in the next round, we all know his secret: his gluten-free (sarcasm on).

Day 8 matches to follow:
Caroline Wozniacki-Svetlana Kuznetsova
Victoria Azarenka-Elena Vesnina
Serena Williams-Maria Kirilenko
Bojana Jovanovski-Sloane Stephens
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga-Richard Gasquet
Milos Raonic-Roger Federer
Jérémy Chardy-Andreas Seppi
Gilles Simon-Andy Murray

One of the busiest and most attention-grabbing weeks of the tennis year has just finished. With players returning from the off-season in need of match practice, the first week of 2013 saw all members of the WTA top ten in action. Most chose to kick-start their Australian Open build-up in Brisbane, but Shenzhen and Auckland also attracted some big names.

Here is a brief rundown of what the WTA top ten achieved last week, and where they stand leading up to the first Grand Slam of the year…

Victoria Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka

The world number one looked in sensational form during her first two matches in Brisbane, defeating the dangerous floater Sabine Lisicki and then thrashing Ksenia Pervak. Unfortunately, a toe infection – apparently the result of a bad pedicure – forced her to pull out of a semi-final against Serena. Azarenka says should be fit and ready to defend her Australian Open title, and the limited match practice shouldn’t be a problem for such a focused player, but if the going gets tough in the early rounds in Melbourne, the injury may become a factor in the latter stages of the tournament.

Maria Sharapova

The French Open champion will be the only top ten player not to have struck a ball competitively before the year’s first Grand Slam, as a collarbone injury forced her out of her only planned warm-up event in Brisbane. The Russian is practising intensively, however, so the ailment appears to have been only a minor setback. Moreover, she didn’t play any lead-up tournaments before last year’s Australian Open, and made it all the way to the final.

Serena Williams

The American legend is the hot pick for the 2013 Australian Open title, and her exploits in Brisbane last week only confirmed her status as the front-runner. Serena charged through all four of her matches without dropping a set, and looked focussed and intense throughout – a worrying sign for her competitors. The younger Williams sister remains favourite to not only win a 16th Grand Slam title, but also recapture the number one ranking.

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