Serena Williams is out of the Australian Open. Her grand slam ambitions, which seemed realistic only a couple of days ago – nailed on, in some estimations, although not her own – lay in tatters on Sunday at the feet of Ana Ivanovic, who had never won more than four games in a single set in their four previous meetings. It was the biggest upset of the tournament, by a distance.
Ivanovic recovered from a tentative but energetic start then flourished, irresistible at the end against her stricken foe, to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 and go through to the quarter-finals.
It should be noted that Williams had been rumored to have had back issues all week that was slowing her down. To her credit there was not one word spoken about the possible injury by Williams either before she took the court or in her post match press conference after lossing to Ivanovic.
In other women’s action, two-time Australian Open finalist Li Na is one match closer to making it three with a dominant defeat of Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova.
The fourth-seeded Li took less than an hour to dispose of Makarova 6-2, 6-0, setting up a quarter-final against Italy’s Flavia Pennetta.
On the men’s side defending champion Novak Djokovic reached his 19th straight Grand Slam quarterfinal with an easy straight-sets victory over Italian seed Fabio Fognini at the Australian Open on Sunday, while Kevin Anderson was defeated in straight sets by Tomas Berdych.
The Serbian second seed coasted to a 6-3, 6-0, 6-2 victory over the 15th-seeded Fognini in one hour 33 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.
Djokovic, who is bidding for a fifth Australian title and his seventh Grand Slam, stretched his unbeaten match run to 28 since his US Open triumph in New York last September.
His quarterfinal opponent will be Swiss eighth seed Stanislas Wawrinka, who pushed the Serb to five sets in an epic fourth-round encounter here last year.