Kim Clijsters fought back from 2-6 down in a second-set tiebreak to defeat China’s Li Na 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 in just one of many dramatic storylines that unfolded on Sunday at the Australian Open.
Clijsters rolled her ankle in the first set, going on to lose the opening set, but refused to yield.
“I said in my mind, keep fighting,” Clijsters said. “You never know what happens on the other side of the court…I knew if I could just try to let the medication sink in or if I could get through the first 20 minutes [after the ankle inujury], half hour, I think the pain would go away a little bit and then maybe with the adrenaline I could just fly through it.”
In her post-match conference Li broke down in tears recounting the pressure points of the match.
“Maybe 6-2 up in the tiebreak I was a little bit shocking,” she said. “Of course I was nervous.”
Clijsters saw her next opponent lined-up when world No. 1 Wozniacki played the last match of the day in defeating former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic 6-0, 7-5.
“My confidence is high, my fitness is good, my play is improving and I’m very positive,” said Wozniacki, who is fighting to keep her No. 1 ranking from Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova, who are all within reach.
The No. 3 seed Azarenka and No. 8 Agnieszka Radwanska also set up a quarterfinal meeting with wins on Sunday, Azarenka defeating Czech Iveta Benesova 6-2, 6-2, and Radwanska pounding No. 22 Julia Goerges 6-1, 6-1.
“I would be a liar if I said I didn’t care about it,” Azarenka said about the top spot.
On the men’s side Roger Federer made short work of Bernard Tomic, ending the homecountry favorite’s run 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.
“I thought I played a really good match,” said Federer, who had no difficulty breaking the Aussies serve, of handling the tall teen’s unwieldy ground game. “I knew I had to. Anything else wouldn’t have done the job tonight.”
No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal likewise advanced in convincing fashion Sunday, pounding No. 18 seed and countryman Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
The Spaniard will next face No. 7 seed Tomas Berdych, who was heartily booed by Australian Open fans when he refused to shake No. 10 seed Nicolas Almagro’s hand after beating the Spaniard 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(3), 7-6(2).
“Well, I mean, just to say about this story, which I already take it as a past,” began Berdych in his post-match conference, trying to explain that he didn’t shake hands since Almagro tried to take his head off with a ball when he was at the net. “It’s just one thing that what happened from the side of Nico was pretty much maybe not what should be happening in the tennis, and that’s it, you know. So I think if they want to look at it like that, then I think maybe we both did some mistake. So it’s even, and that’s it. You know, I wouldn’t do any big story with that, you know. Just something happen there, and that’s it, you know. It’s already we don’t have any problems at all together. That’s how it is, you know. It was pretty tight match, and I think it’s more about the game than just this story.”
Federer will next face No. 11 seed Juan Martin del Potro, a straight-set winner Sunday over Philipp Kohlschreiber.
“Roger is the best tennis player of the history, and of course he’s the favorite,” del Potro said. “I remember three years ago I play on quarters against him and I only win three games. So if this time is something different and I win more games is going to be okay for me.”
Fourth-round action concludes on Monday with (21) Ana Ivanovic vs. (2) Petra Kvitova, (4) Andy Murray vs. Mikhail Kukushkin, Ekaterina Makarova vs. (12) Serena Williams, (14) Sabine Lisicki vs. (4) Maria Sharapova, (1) Novak Djokovic vs. Lleyton Hewitt, (24) Kei Nishikori vs. (6) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, (17) Richard Gasquet vs. (5) David Ferrer, and Sara Errani vs. Jie Zheng.
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