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Sharapova Achieves Record as Li, Radwanska Advance at AO

Maria Sharapova's near perfect ride to the second week has put her in the record books. Li Na and Agnieszka Radwanska booked quarterfinal spots on Day 7 in Melbourne.

By Erik Gudris

Li Na Australian Open (January 20, 2013) -- Maria Sharapova and her near-perfect performances this week at the Australian Open have put her into the record books.

In her fourth round match against Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens, Sharapova fought off several break points early in the first set but then took control as she notched a 6-1, 6-0 win in just 68 minutes.

Sharapova has now conceded only five games en route to the quarterfinals setting a new Australian Open record. The previous record was eight games held by Steffi Graf in 1988 and Monica Seles in 1991 and 1993.

Waiting for Sharapova next is fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova who continues her recent streak of having her best results in Melbourne. Facing No. 5 seed Angelique Kerber, Makarova held a 5-2 lead in the first set, but nerves prevented her from serving out the set twice.

Makarova finally held serve to take the set 7-5. After securing a break of serve in the second set, Makarova hit her fifth ace on the day to close out Kerber 7-5, 6-3 and with it book a return trip to the quarterfinals where she lost to Sharapova last year.

"I lost to her quarters last year, so I think it's really interesting," Makarova said later about facing Sharapova once again the quarterfinals. "I really want to play against her. During last year we played lot of times, and I never beat her.  So I'm really interesting to play against her.  She's in a good form now, in a good shape. I hope I show my good tennis again."

Li and Radwanska Book Quarterfinal Berths

2011 finalist Li Na was made to work in the first set against Germany's Julia Goerges as both women pushed each other into a tiebreak that Li barely won. After that, Goerges didn't threaten any more as Li went onto to roll through the second set and earned a 7-6(6), 6-1 win.

Li, who hasn't dropped a set yet in the tournament, will next face a woman who hasn't dropped a set all year: No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska. Radwanska took on No. 13 seed Ana Ivanovic; the Serb was trying to reach her second consecutive quarterfinal appearance at a Major.

Ivanovic made it hard on herself as she couldn't convert on the seven break point chance. Despite hitting 35 winners, Ivanovic racked up 34 unforced errors compared to Radwanska's tidy sum of just four errors on the night. Radwanska eventually went on to win 6-2, 6-4.

Radwanska beat Li the previous week in Sydney but knows past results mean nothing.

"Well, we played so many times in the last couple months," Radwanksa said. "Well, it's never easy playing against her.  She's very consistent player and moving very well, serving well. We played in Sydney.  It was really tough match.  We'll see how it's going to be here."

(Photo Credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve)


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