Hingis advances to quarterfinals
Published: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.
MELBOURNE, Australia — Three-time champion Martina Hingis advanced to the quarterfinals in the Australian Open, weathering an early challenge from Li Na on Monday before pulling away for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory.
At a glance
- Weather: Sunny before late afternoon heavy rain suspended play for the day on outdoor courts. High temperature of 75 degrees.
- Attendance: Day session, 35,957; Night session: 14,801; Total: 50,758.
- Men's results: No. 1 Roger Federer, No. 6 Andy Roddick and No. 7 Tommy Robredo advanced in fourth-round matches, No. 9 Mario Ancic was beaten by Roddick; No. 14 Novak Djokovic lost to Federer and No. 16 David Ferrer lost to Mardy Fish; in third-round matches postponed by rain from Saturday, No. 12 Tommy Haas and No. 13 Tomas Berdych advanced and No. 21 Dmitry Tursunov lost.
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- Women's results: No. 2 Amelie Mauresmo, No. 3 Svetlana Kuznetsova and No. 11 Jelena Jankovic were beaten in the fourth round — Mauresmo by Lucie Safarova, Kuznetsova by No. 16 Shahar Peer and Jankovic by Serena Williams. No. 10 Nicole Vaidisova advanced, beating No. 7 Elena Dementieva. In third-round matches postponed by rain from Saturday, No. 12 Anna Chakvetadze, No. 15 Daniela Hantuchova and No. 19 Li Na advanced; No. 9 Dinara Safina lost to Li.
- Stat of the Day: 4: the number of points that Roddick lost in his last five service games against Ancic.
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Coming off three two-set victories, Hingis came under heavy pressure from Li's strong ground strokes in the first set.
"She came out on fire, I've never played her before, I knew it was going to be a difficult match," Hingis said. "I knew I had to come up with the best ... and after the first set I started playing better."
After an early exchange of breaks in the second set, Hingis took control when Li's first-serve percentage dropped from 93 percent and her error rate rocketed.
Hingis had only eight clean winners and 18 unforced errors, but was too consistent and experienced for Li, who had 33 winners and 69 unforced errors.
Li reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon last year, becoming the first Chinese player to reach the last eight in a Grand Slam event.
The former top-ranked Hingis made the quarterfinals before losing to Kim Clijsters last year, when she was ranked No. 341 after three seasons on the sidelines.
The 25-year-old Swiss star, who won three straight Australian titles from 1997-99 and reached the finals in 2000-02, could meet Clijsters again in the quarters.
Later Monday, Clijsters faced No. 15 Daniela Hantuchova, and top-seeded Maria Sharapova was set to play Vera Zvonareva.
On the other side of the draw, Serena Williams became a big threat for the women's title after defending champion Amelie Mauresmo and No. 3 Svetlana Kuznetsova were toppled in the fourth round Sunday.
"Yeah, I have it in me," Williams said. "I believe in my game, and more than anything I believe in me. It doesn't matter what people say or people write. At the end of the day, I'm my biggest fan."
Ranked No. 81 and seemingly out of condition, Williams came into the season's first major with only two matches in a low-key warmup. And that followed an injury-plagued season when she played only four events.
She had to save match points against No. 5 Nadia Petrova to make the fourth round — her first win over a top 10 player since she won the Australian title in 2005 — then beat No. 11 Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-2.
In the second set, Williams finished off a 17-shot rally with a trademark crosscourt backhand to end the fourth game, pumping her fist as Jankovic stared and gaped at the angle.
Williams will face Shahar Peer, who beat 2004 U.S. Open champion Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-2. Peer is in the quarterfinals at a major for the first time.
Second-seeded Mauresmo, who also won Wimbledon and spent most of 2006 at No. 1, fell 6-4, 6-3 to 70th-ranked Lucie Safarova. In six previous majors, Safarova had only won one match.
Safarova will play fellow Czech player Nicole Vaidisova, who at No. 10 is the highest-ranked player remaining in the bottom half of the draw.
On the men's side, defending champion Roger Federer stayed on track for a 10th Grand Slam with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 win over 14th-seeded Novak Djokovic.
"It looks like he doesn't feel any pressure, which is really strange because he's No. 1 and everybody wants to get his spot," Djokovic said.
For Federer, it was a matter of timing his run.
"Straight sets every time, a day off — it couldn't be better." He'll be aiming for a 34th consecutive win when he meets seventh-seeded Tommy Robredo, who beat Richard Gasquet of France 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.
Andy Roddick beat No. 9 Mario Ancic 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against friend and former housemate Mardy Fish. The unseeded Fish, who lived with Roddick's family for a year in 1999, made the last eight for the first time at a major, beating No. 16 David Ferrer 6-1, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-5.
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