Australian Open: Wozniacki, Djokovic advance to fourth round
MELBOURNE, Australia – Caroline Wozniacki beat Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 6-3 on Friday to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open and avenge last week’s loss in a tuneup tournament.
Wozniacki, playing her first Grand Slam as the world No. 1, advanced to the fourth round for the seventh consecutive major but has yet to win one of tennis’ marquee events. The 20-year-old Danish player can hold onto the No. 1 ranking by reaching the semifinals in Australia.
French Open champion Francesca Schiavone also moved on, beating Monica Niculescu of Romania 6-0, 7-6 (2).
Wozniacki said last week’s loss to Cibulkova in Sydney helped her prepare for the rematch and she was confident she could continue the success she had last year, when she won a tour-leading six titles from eight finals.
“It’s a new year. I’m in the fourth round here. It’s good,” she said.
Novak Djokovic knows what it takes to win a major. He beat Roger Federer in the semifinals here in 2008 en route to the championship. He hasn’t added to his Grand Slam collection, but did help Serbia to its first ever Davis Cup title last month.
He advanced Friday after playing just one set of this third-round match against Davis Cup teammate Viktor Troicki. He was leading 6-2 when Troicki retired with a stomach muscle strain.
“It’s not really the way you want to win – especially if you’re playing against one of your best friends,” Djokovic said. “Unfortunately he wasn’t able to play 100 percent of his abilities.”
The pair spent a long time celebrating after Serbia’s first ever Davis Cup title, which Troicki clinched with a win in the deciding singles match last month.
“Viktor was actually the hero. He won the last match. He played the best match of his life there,” Djokovic said. “We’re still under a lot of emotions. A lot of celebrations that I wouldn’t talk about publicly!”
Rafael Nadal has had plenty to celebrate after three consecutive Grand Slam titles. His winning streak in majors is up to 23 matches and he’s five wins from being the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slam titles at once.
Nadal pounded another up-and-comer into submission on Thursday, beating American qualifier Ryan Sweeting 6-2, 6-1, 6-1.
The 24-year-old Spaniard has lost only four games in two rounds, and says his nine Grand Slam crowns have given him “a lot of calm” as he chases his Rafa Slam.
“I have probably less pressure right now, last year’s season, winning a lot,” he said. “I have to work hard every day. That’s what I do: keep practicing with … motivation for sure, waiting my chances, trying to find my chances.”
Nadal next plays 18-year-old Australian wild card Bernard Tomic, who advanced with a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3), 6-3 victory over No. 31-seeded Feliciano Lopez. Also moving on were fourth-seeded Robin Soderling, No. 5 Andy Murray, the losing finalist here last year, No. 10 Mikhail Youzhny, No. 13 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and No. 15 Marin Cilic.
U.S. Open champion Kim Clijsters has only dropped four games in two rounds and is one of the favorites in the women’s draw. Her 6-1, 6-3 win over Carla Suarez Navarro was overshadowed by her post-match on-court interview, where she jokingly chided doubles great and commentator Todd Woodbridge for spreading rumors that she looked and was acting like she was pregnant again.
The short answer: “No, I’m not.”
No. 2 Vera Zvonareva showed some jitters early before recovering to beat Bojana Jovanovski 2-6, 6-3, 6-1. French Open finalist Sam Stosur, No. 10 Shahar Peer and No. 12 Agnieszka Radwanska advanced along with No. 13 Nadia Petrova, who beat Clijsters 6-0, 6-1 last year in a big upset and could meet the Belgian again in the fourth round.
Three Americans reached the third round, with No. 20 John Isner winning Thursday. No. 8 Andy Roddick was playing Friday, with Venus Williams in action in the women’s draw against Andrea Petkovic.