Sharapova sets record; Ferrer rolls

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 20, 2013
2010_australian_open_2eb0
Maria Sharapova beat Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-0 on Sunday to continue a dominant and unparalleled run to the Australian Open quarterfinals. The No. 2-ranked Sharapova conceded only five games en route to the quarterfinals, a record at the season's first major. Steffi Graf conceded only eight games in her opening four matches in 1989, when she won the second of her three straight titles in Melbourne. Monica Seles matched that number twice. Sharapova had a pair of 6-0, 6-0 wins in her first two rounds -- the first time that has happened at a major since 1985 -- and then beat seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams 6-1, 6-3 in the third round. She next plays fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova, who ousted fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-4, in a rematch of their quarterfinal here last year. ''Actually I really want to play against Maria because I lost here last year in the quarters,'' Makarova said. ''Now I'm pretty confident and I like my game.'' ''Last year I was so surprised . . . and I had so many thoughts in my mind. This year I'm a little bit used to it, so I think I'll be ready to play a good game.'' No. 19-seeded Makarova took out the highest seed to tumble so far at the tournament, causing another upset like she did in the fourth-round here last year when she beat Serena Williams. Kerber and Makarova were two of only four women in 2012 to beat Williams, who lost only one match in the second half of last season as she collected titles at Wimbledon, the London Olympics, the US Open and the WTA Championships. ''Seems like it was the same this year and last year. Unbelievable feeling,'' Makarova said. ''I really like to play here. The crowd is so perfect.'' In the first men's match Sunday, fourth-seeded David Ferrer had a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 win over No. 16 Kei Nishikori of Japan to reach the quarterfinals, where he will meet Spaniard Nicolas Almagro. Nishikori had won two of his previous three matches with Ferrer and was a quarterfinalist in Australia last year, but struggled with 65 unforced errors in the 2-hour, 10-minute match. Almagro advanced later Sunday, leading 6-2, 5-1 when No. 8 Janko Tipsaveric retired from their fourth-round match. It will be the first all-Spanish quarterfinal at the Australian Open since 2011, when Ferrer ended Rafael Nadal's bid for a sequence of four consecutive major titles. No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic, who has the past two Australian titles, had a night match against No. 15 Stanislas Wawrinka.
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