Australian Open Day 7: Sharapova, Djokovic, Radwanska survive
Catch up on all of the action, news and results from Day 7 at the 2016 Australian Open on Sunday that you may have missed while you were sleeping.
Sharapova, Serena win to set up QFs showdown
In the opening match of the day, No. 5-seed Maria Sharapova outlasted an strong effort from 18-year-old Belinda Bencic, winning 7–5, 7–5 to advance to the quarterfinals. With the roof closed on Rod Laver Arena, Sharapova took advantage of the indoor conditions and fired 21 aces and 58 winners on the match. The 21 aces were a career-high for Sharapova and beat out Krystina Pliskova’s record of 31 earlier this week.
“I feel like that's something I have been working on a lot since I had shoulder surgery. I have gone through many different motions to try to find my groove again and something that would hold up over many matches,” Sharapova said of her serving after the match. “That was something that was really difficult to find a rhythm and a balance between keeping the shoulder, not going back so much, because I'm quite loose, to a motion that kind of gave me the chance to play many matches and feel like I was still not able not to be tired after three, four tough matches.”
Sharapova’s win sets up a quarterfinals clash with Serena Williams after the American beat Margarita Gasparyan 6-2, 6-1 in just 55 minutes. The match will be a rematch of last year’s final and Serena holds an 18-2 head-to-head record against Sharapova, who’s last win came in 2004.
Djokovic advances despite triple-digit UFEs
No. 14-seed Gilles Simon tested No. 1-seed Novak Djokovic in a tough five-setter on Sunday but the Serb ultimately prevailed 6–3, 6–7(1), 6–4, 4–6, 6–3, despite hitting 100 unforced errors on the match. Djokovic hit only 78 unforced errors in his first three matches of the tournament.
Playing against a player like Gilles you can always expect a lot of rallies, he’s always going to make you play an extra shot,” Djokovic said after the match. “I’m just glad to get through this one.”
With the win, Djokovic will make his 27th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance, tying Jimmy Connors mark and getting closer to record-leader Roger Federer, with 36.
Djokovic will next play Kei Nishikori, who Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6–4, 6–2, 6–4 earlier in the day on Sunday.
Tomas Berdych also advanced on Sunday and will make his sixth-straight Australian Open quarterfinals appearance after beating Roberto Bautista Agut 4–6, 6–4, 6–3, 1–6, 6–3.
Radwanska survives a battle against Friedsam
No. 4-seed Agnieszka Radwanska continued her run in Melbourne and overcame a remarkable effort from German Anna-Lena Friedsam 6–7(6), 6–1, 7–5 at Hisense Arena on Sunday night. Late in the match Friedsam suffered a cramp in her leg and was crying as she was serving at one point in the match. Friedsam tried serving but was given a code violation to trail 5-6. Radwanska remained calm and served out the way to book her spot in the quarterfinals.
"It's tough because you know someone is struggling. But you really have to play your game because someone is still fighting," Radwanska said after the match. "I had no choice, just to fight till the end for each point. That's what I did....I just wanted to play my game and not really do anything different."
Radwanska will next play No. 10-seed Carla Suarez Navarro, who defeated Aussie Daria Gavrilova 0–6, 6–3, 6–2, ending the 21-year-old's dream run in Melbourne.
Federer takes care of business
The final singles match of the day didn't begin until almost 11 p.m. local time and once Roger Federer and David Goffin took the court, it was clear the Swiss meant business. Federer cruised through the opening set 6–2 in just 21 minutes and then won the second set in 29 minutes. All in all, Federer was on court for 88 minutes and easily advanced to the quarterfinals, defeating Goffin 6–2, 6–1, 6–4.
Australian Open releases statement on Sears
After Ana Ivanovic's coach and Andy Murray’s father-in-law Nigel Sears collapsed during the Serb’s match against Madison Keys on Saturday, the tournament released a statement on the status of his health on Sunday. Sears was brought to the hospital in an ambulance after falling during the match.