2012 Australian Open quarterfinalist Ekaterina Makarova repeated her round of 16 success yesterday by defeating 5th seed Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-4. The 5th seeds looked different from the Kerber who beat Madison Keys in the third round. It turns out that the German star sustained a back injury during the match, which slowed her down and distracted her.
But let's not take anything away from Makarova's performance. She had some dips, to be sure, but when her nerves are under control, the Russian player's free swinging and accuracy are impressive (sounds almost like I'm describing someone from the Czech Republic, doesn't it)? Makarova may be feeling a real sense of deja vu: Her quarterfinal opponent will be Maria Sharapova--just like last year.
There was really little Ana Ivanovic could do to stop 4th seed Agnieszka Radwanska, despite the fact that the former world number 1 gave the crowd some exciting tennis. But Radwanska looked as though she were putting on a "Tennis, Aga-style" clinic, defeating Ivanovic 6-2, 6-4. Radwanska made only four unforced errors, and served two consecutive aces to end the match.
Radwanska is still undeated in 2013. She has won 13 consecutive matches without dropping a set. Will her next opponent, Li Na. The two have played nine times, and Li has won five of those. Li has prevailed 4-1 on hard courts.
6th seed Li defeated Julia Goerges 7-6, 6-1, and 2nd seed Maria Sharapova defeated Kirsten Flipkens 6-0, 6-1. Li hit 16 winners and and made 16 unforced errors. Sharapova struggled a bit along the way, and didn't appear to have the same control that she displayed in the three previous matches, but one "bad" day probably doesn't mean too much.
Makarova was successful in doubles, too. She and Elena Vesnina, the 4th seeds, advanced to the quarterfiinals. Top seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci advanced, too, with a win over Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai. The Williams sisters defeated 5th seeds Nadia Petrova and Katarina Srebotnik, and the Spanish team of Silvia Soler-Espinosa beat 6th seeds Liezel Huber and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.
Huber, with partner Max Mirnyi, did win her mixed doubles match, against Cara Black and Paul Hanley. Black and Huber, of course, once played together on a very successful doubles team, but their split was far from amicable.
Defending champions Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Horia Tecau were taken out in the fist round by Lucie Hradecka and Frantisek Cermak.