Li, Pennetta advance to Australian Open quarterfinals

Saturday, January 18, 2014 /by
AP Photo
AP Photo

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Two-time finalist Li Na has advanced to the Australian Open quarterfinals for the third time in four years with a 6-2, 6-0 win in just 59 minutes over Ekaterina Makarova on Sunday.

No. 4 Li, who broke No. 22-seeded Marakova's serve five times, lost to Victoria Azarenka in the 2013 final at Melbourne Park.

Li started this year by successfully defending her title at Shenzen and on Sunday improved her record at the Australian Open to 31 wins from 39 matches.

Li will play Flavia Pennetta in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

Pennetta's late-career revival continued as she reached her first Australian Open quarterfinal on Sunday with a 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 win over ninth-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany.

The 28th-seeded Pennetta, who turns 32 next month, has played some of her best tennis since returning last February from a wrist injury that caused her ranking to drop as low as No. 166.

The Italian veteran reached her first Grand Slam semifinal at the U.S. Open last year and has followed that by reaching her first quarterfinal at Melbourne Park in 11 appearances.

"I'm a little old so I'm starting to enjoy (tennis) more," she said. "When you are young you want to win so much."

Pennetta broke Kerber to take a 5-3 lead in the third set but tightened up as she was serving for the match, giving the break right back. She recovered, however, to take a 6-5 lead and then broke Kerber to close out the match.

Kerber was also bidding for her first quarterfinal at the Australian Open. She hasn't been past the fourth round of a Grand Slam since reaching the Wimbledon semifinals in 2012.

Five-time champion Serena Williams was facing former No. 1-ranked Ana Ivanovic in fourth-round match on Rod Laver Arena.

After setting a record for most match wins at the Australian Open with her 61st this week, Williams will better another mark Sunday by playing her 70th match at Melbourne Park, topping Lindsay Davenport's former record of 69.

On the men's side, three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic was set to take on Italian Fabio Fognini for a place in the quarterfinals.

Djokovic is attempting to make his 19th consecutive appearance in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam -- the third-longest streak in the Open era after Roger Federer's 36 and Jimmy Connors' 27.

Third-seeded David Ferrer of Spain will face Germany's Florian Mayer in another fourth-round match Sunday.

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