2011 Australian Tennis Open – Quarterfinals Review
The women’s and men’s singles quarterfinals of the Australian Open are over. After a tremendous performance in the fourth round, Schiavone had to bow in front of the younger and more rested Wozniacki while Nadal, unable to win his fourth consecutive major due to a hamstring injury, gave his Davis Cup team mate Ferrer the opportunity to get through to the semis.
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Image via Wikipedia - Vera Zvonareva US Open 2009
In the first quarterfinal match China’s Li Na played against Germany’s Andrea Petkovic. Li Na repeated her last year performance at the Aussie Open by qualifying into the semifinals. Petkovic couldn’t do much other than playing on the defensive for most points against the ninth seeded Chinese, who despite a taped knee, needed only 80 minutes to win in two straight sets 6-2, 6-4.
Caroline Wozniacki secured her No. 1 ranking by rallying one set and breaking down to defeat the sixth seeded Francesca Schiavone in three sets 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. The 20-year old Dane knows that she has something to prove in Melbourne as this is her first Grand Slam as No.1 without any major under her belt yet. She will be playing in the semis against Li Na.
On the other side of the draw, Kim Clijsters, focused, strong and never dropping a set, has cruised into the semifinals surpassing Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska in two sets, the last one on tie-break, 6-3, 7-6 (4). She doesn’t think she played her best tennis yet, however she has booked her place in the Aussie Open semis for the first time since 2007 when she lost to Sharapova.
Last but not least, Vera Zvonareva’s match against Petra Kvitova wasn’t exactly uneventful. Both were surprised when cannons went off in a park nearby due to Australia Day celebration. Then someone in the audience needed medical assistance. Although Kvitova came very confident into the game, after a win in Brisbane and upsetting Stosur and Penetta, she haven’t had much of a chance in opposition to the Russian who was quick and firmly in control. Zvonareva won in two sets 6-2, 6-4 and her semifinal opponent will be the Supermom Clijsters in what is going to be a rematch of last US Open final where the Belgian collected her third Grand Slam title.
Image via Wikipedia - Roger Federer 2008 Tennis Masters Cup
On the men’s side, all eyes were set today on Rafael Nadal in his quest for a “Rafa Slam”. However, it wasn’t meant to be, as he injured his left hamstring in the second game of his match against his friend and Davis Cup mate David Ferrer and went down in three sets 6-4, 6-2, 6-3. A man who looks for no excuses, Rafa played until the end congratulating Ferrer for a great run in the tournament and wishing him best of luck in the semifinals. Nadal started his second week with a good match against Cilic, but today wasn’t his day. “Full credit to both players for their handling of a difficult situation, (…) it was a brutal way for Nadal’s quest to end,” said Patrick McEnroe.
Andy Murray has silently advanced to his second consecutive Australian Open semifinal. His today encounter against Alexandr Dolgopolov – who surprisingly crushed Robin Soderling in five sets in the fourth round – made it difficult for the Scot to get into his rhythm. The Ukrainian is one of this year’s sensations and has a promising future. Murray won, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-3, dropping his first set of the tournament as he tried to figure out Dolgopolov’s unorthodox style. “It was very tough, every point was different, he hits, just different,” said Murray. “Physically I’m doing well on the court, but I’m going to need it a little bit more in the next match.” Murray will meet David Ferrer in the semifinals on Friday.
With a first serve of 77% and 90 total points won, Roger Federer was just too good for Stanislas Wawrinka. He controlled the whole match finishing in three sets 6-1, 6-3, 6-3. Roger and Stas go back a long way being not only practice partners but Davis Cup mates, as well as Beijing gold medalists. Stas is a solid player both physically and technically and has a backhand to die for. But that wasn’t enough, as Federer was and is in great form.
Novak Djokovic used his power and precision in his quarterfinal match with Tomas Berdych whom he outran in three sets 6-1, 7-6(5), 6-1. The Serb has a lot of confidence boost given by the recent Davis Cup win and the Hopman Cup in Perth and he feels he reached his top level. Djokovic’s biggest win to date was at the 2008 Australian Open when he upset Roger Federer in the semis and then won the title against the French Tsonga. He doesn’t have an easy job meeting Federer again in the semifinals.
Read my Singles finals review here.