Serena Williams (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Melbourne, Australia (Sports Network) - Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka
were dominant winners Monday as the fourth round of the Australian Open came
to a close.
Williams made short work of Russian Maria Kirilenko in a 6-2, 6-0 rout to
start the night session at Rod Laver Arena, while Azarenka bounced back from a
tough third-round match and cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Elena Vesnina.
The third-seeded former world No. 1 Williams has dropped just eight games in
her first four matches. She needed just 57 minutes to dispose of the 14th-
seeded Kirilenko, blasting 22 winners and committing a mere six unforced
errors while converting 87 percent of her first serves.
"I'm really out there just doing the best I can, just fighting for
everything," said Williams. "I think with that attitude I'm just trying to
stay in the tournament just to stay alive."
Only Maria Sharapova has been more dominant en route to the quarterfinals.
Sharapova has lost only five games heading to the round of eight.
Williams will next face fellow American Sloane Stephens, who reached her first
Grand Slam quarterfinal with a hard-fought 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 victory over Serbia's
Bojana Jovanovski. The 19-year-old Stephens, seeded 29th, broke at love to go
up 6-5 in the third set, then celebrated when Jovanovski hit into the net on
"I'll just treat it as another match, you just go out and do your best," said
Stephens when asked about the possibility of playing Williams. "Regardless of
who I play, it's still a tennis match and you have to go out and play your
game no matter what."
The 15-time Grand Slam titlist Williams has been impressed with her fellow
American and won't take her lightly as she continues her quest for a sixth
Australian Open crown.
"I'm here to compete and do the best I can, as well as she," Williams noted.
"And she's been doing really amazing. I'm really happy. I have a tough match,
so we'll see."
The current world No. 1 Azarenka is trying for a repeat title in Melbourne and
nearly saw the opportunity slip through her fingers in the third round when
American Jamie Hampton pushed her in a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 triumph. There was no
such drama on Monday, as the Belarus native polished off Vesnina in just 57
"It's getting there," said Azarenka. "With every match, you build up for the
tough battles to come."
The quarterfinal matchup should, indeed, be a tough one with Russian veteran
Svetlana Kuznetsova on the opposite side of the net. The two-time major
champion outlasted former world No. 1 and 10th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, 6-2,
Kuznetsova, winner of the 2004 U.S. Open and 2009 French Open, advanced to her
first Grand Slam quarterfinal since the 2009 French. She's never been past the
quarterfinals in Melbourne, falling in the round of eight in 2005 and again in
A pair of quarterfinals are on tap for Tuesday, as the second-seeded former
No. 1 Sharapova will meet fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova and fourth-seeded
Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska will battle sixth-seeded Li Na, the
2011 Aussie runner-up and French Open champ. Sharapova is the reigning Roland
Garros champion who lost to Azarenka in last year's Aussie finale, titled here
in 2008, and was also a Melbourne runner-up in 2007.
The Sports Network