Melbourne - Five-time champion Serena Williams
was sent crashing out of the Australian Open by little-known Russian
Ekaterina Makarova Monday, as Andy Murray had no trouble reaching the
An out-of-sorts Williams struggled through the
first set and dished up a host of errors as she was well beaten 6-2, 6-3
by the world number 56, who has never won a title and is now into her
first grand slam quarter-final.
China's Zheng Jie was also beaten
6-2, 6-1 by Italy's Sara Errani to end the country's singles interest on
Chinese new year's day -- and a day after Li Na's tearful defeat to Kim
Williams's exit blows a giant hole in the women's draw
with Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova, the 2008
champion in Melbourne, among the potential beneficiaries on her side of
Defending champion Clijsters also suffered an ankle injury during her win over Li which could hinder her progress.
Earlier Murray took the easy route to the last eight when Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin retired injured.
blazing sun Murray, seeking Britain's first grand slam title since
before World War II, was always in command and he led 6-1, 6-1, 1-0 when
Kukushkin pulled out with a hip muscle injury on 49 minutes.
truncated match ended an entertaining run by Kukushkin, inevitably
dubbed "Borat" by the British press, who won an oddball encounter in the
previous round to become Kazakhstan's best male grand slam performer.
"It's so hot on the court," said Murray, who will play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals.
obviously good for me that I got to conserve a bit of energy. It's
tough for him - it's his first fourth round in a slam, and he's
Murray remains on course for a semi-final
with defending champion Novak Djokovic, who plays Australian veteran
Lleyton Hewitt later, while Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are into the
last eight on the other side of the draw.
In the women's
competition, Kvitova reached the quarter-finals with a 6-2, 7-6 (7/2)
win over Ana Ivanovic - but not before a temporary meltdown in which
she embarrassingly swung and missed a simple overhead.
cringe-making mistake late in the second set precipitated a brief
nosedive and a flurry of errors but tough Kvitova steadied herself to
seize control of the all-important tiebreak.
"It was quite a hard
match at the end of the second set," she said, adding that she was happy
to be off the court early on a typically hot Melbourne day.
"I think I was quite lucky I played my match at 11 o'clock. It's hot, but we are in Australia so we are ready for it."
will play Errani in the next round, while Williams's conqueror Makarova
will take on either Sharapova or Germany's Sabine Lisicki.
opponent Kukushkin had caused bemusement in his five-set win over Gael
Monfils, who was severely restricted by a back injury.
But the Kazakh was unable to press his advantage, resulting in a series of puzzling rallies played at half-pace.