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Sharapova in with a shout

sports Updated: Jan 24, 2012 01:38 IST

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The Australian Open women's draw was thrown wide open on Monday 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 quarterfinal for the first time when she stunned a below-par Williams 6-2, 6-3 and will now face Maria Sharapova, who battled to a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Sabine Lisicki.

There were no such problems for Kvitova, who held off a late fight-back from Ana Ivanovic to win 6-2, 7-6 (2) and move into a quarterfinal showdown against Italian Sara Errani, a 6-2, 6-1 winner over China's Zheng Jie.

Williams, who twisted an ankle in the lead-up to the tournament, was slowed by injury in the 82-minute match on Rod Laver Arena but refused to blame it for her sensational loss to the Russian world number 56.

"She played really well, she went for broke on a lot of shots," Williams, a five-time Australian Open winner, said. "I made 37 errors and that pretty much told the story”.

The 13-times Grand Slam champion was a picture of torment throughout, serving up seven double-faults and routinely pushing her ground-strokes wide.
But Makarova, the lowest-ranked player to reach the last 16, served it up to the 13-times grand slam champion, absorbing her firepower and returning it with interest.

Sharapova won the opening three games but suddenly lost her mojo as the German reeled off the next six games to seize the first set and seemingly all the momentum.
But the Russian fought back in the second set and then scrapped tooth and nail in the third game of the third to hold serve before she broke 14th seed Lisicki in the sixth, ultimately setting up victory.

Djokovic ends Hewitt run

Novak Djokovic weathered a gallant challenge from a tenacious Lleyton Hewitt to send the last Australian in the draw packing and make the quarter-finals on Monday.
While most at the packed Rod Laver Arena hoped for a boilover, few expected it to materialise but 30-year-old Hewitt rode the crowd's emotion to poach a set off the world No 1 before going down fighting 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.