Kuznetsova roars back to form to beat former World No.1 Wozniacki
Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka wasted little energy in making the Australian Open last eight on Monday as Svetlana Kuznetsova roared back to form with a tournament upset.
Third seed Williams, gunning for her sixth Australian title, blitzed a dazed Maria Kirilenko 6-2, 6-0 and has conceded just eight games in the tournament so far. She next faces exciting American teenager Sloane Stephens, who beat Serb Bojana Jovanovski in a tough 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 battle to make her first Grand Slam quarter-final.
Azarenka meets Kuznetsova
Like Williams, top seed Azarenka took less than an hour to dispose of Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-1 to set up a last eight meeting with Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam winner who spent two months on crutches last year. The experienced Russian needed a tense 2hrs 28mins to oust 10th seed and former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.
The Belarusian World No.1 was in red-hot form off the baseline against Russia's unseeded Vesnina, but seven double-faults blotted her performance.
Kuznetsova has dropped down the rankings to be 75 in the world, but she showed her quality against Wozniacki, who has been struggling for form. It was a courageous win by the Russian after an injury to her right knee forced her to skip a big chunk of 2012.
The injury meant she missed all post-Wimbledon events including the US Open, which ended her streak of 40 straight Grand Slam appearances dating back to 2002 at Flushing Meadow. But Kuznetsova, who won the 2004 US Open and 2009 French Open, said she was feeling fresh again. The defeat was another disappointment for Wozniacki, whose preparations for Melbourne were hurt by going out early at both the Brisbane and Sydney International tournaments.
Sloane beats Jovanovski
19-year old Sloane Stephens steamrolled through the first set before the 56th-ranked Jovanovski, 21, woke up and gave her a fright, forcing the match into a tense three-set tussle.AFP