MELBOURNE: Aisamul Haq Qureshi and his Dutch partner Jean-Julien Rojer bowed out of the men’s doubles event of the Australian Open after a 6-4, 6-2 defeat to Bruno Soares and Eric Butorac in the third round.
Aisam and Rojer were totally outplayed by the 10th-seeded pair with the match lasting just a little over 33 minutes. It was the first time the Pakistani tagged up with Rojer in a Grand Slam event after his former partner Rohan Bopanna of India decided to team up with Mahesh Bhupathi ahead of the Olympics.
Djokovic beats Hewitt in four sets
Top-seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic battled past Lleyton Hewitt in four sets to reach the quarter-finals.
Djokovic defeated the two-time grand slam champion, 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to set up a quarter-final with Spanish fifth-seed David Ferrer tomorrow.
The women’s draw was thrown wide open after Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova shocked Serena Williams in the fourth round, as Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova won in straight sets.
Makarova, the world number 56, reached a grand slam quarter-final for the first time when she stunned a below-par Williams 6-2, 6-3 and will now face former champion Maria Sharapova, who battled back from a set down to progress.
The Russian was ecstatic after she ended Williams’ 17-match unbeaten streak at Melbourne Park stretching back to 2009. “It’s an amazing feeling, it’s unbelievable,” said Makarova. “I will watch the game tonight. I don’t want to think about the next match. I just want to enjoy this moment.”
The 24-year-old Sharapova, who won the Australian Open in 2008, has now reached the quarter-finals or better in Melbourne five times, but this is the first time she has progressed so far since she took the title four years ago, beating Sabine Lisicki.
There were no problems for Kvitova, who held off a late fight-back from Ana Ivanovic to win 6-2, 7-6 (7/2) and move into a quarter-final showdown against Italian Sara Errani, a 6-2, 6-1 winner over China’s Zheng Jie.
Victorious Nishikori eyes Murray scalp
In the men’s draw, Kei Nishikori shocked former finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in five sets to become the first Japanese man into the Australian Open quarter-finals in 80 years.
The 24th seed dug deep to knock out the 2008 finalist and sixth seed Tsonga, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in three hours and 30 minutes.
“This is the first quarter-final for me,” said Nishikori. “I’m happy to get to the top in Asia and hopefully I can be like Li Na for the men.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2012.
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