Maria made to pay in shock defeat
THE upsets continued yesterday in the women's draw at the Australian Open with 2008 champion Maria Sharapova beaten 3-6 6-4 6-1 by diminutive Slovakian Dominica Cibulkova.
The shock defeat for the Russian, following hot favourite Serena Williams' loss to Ana Ivanovic on Sunday, left two-time defending champion
Victoria Azarenka as the only previous women's winner still in the draw at Melbourne Park.
Azarenka has little trouble getting past American Sloane Stephens 6-3 6-2 in their fourth round clash yesterday.
Sharapova took a medical timeout in between the second and third sets for treatment on what was said to be an injury to her left hip, but Cibulkova was clearly the better of the two players.
The Slovakian stated at the start of the summer that her goal was to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals for the first time, after she had made the last eight at each of the other grand slams.
In today's quarter-finals, twice-beaten finalist Li Na will take on Italy's Flavia Pennetta, and Ivanovic will meet Canadian rising star Eugenie Bouchard.
In today's men's draw, three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic will face a danger game against Switzerland's in-form Stanislas Wawrinka.
Last year the pair played an epic fourth round match which Djokovic won 12-10 in the fifth set. History is against Wawrinka, however. The last time he beat the Serb was in Vienna in 2006 - Djokovic has won all 14 matches since.
In the other quarter-final, seventh seed Tomas Berdych will take on world No.3 David Ferrer.
Berdych has not dropped a set or his serve so far in the tournament, and said he had plenty of energy ready for the indefatigable
Spaniard in what will be the Czech's fourth Aussie Open quarter-final.
"If I could compare right away all those four years, this year is my best so far," Berdych said.
Meanwhile, top seeds Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray won their fourth round matches yesterday to progress to the quarter-finals.
Nadal beat Japan's Kei Nishikori 7-6 7-5 7-6 while Murray was forced into a fourth set against Frenchman Stephane
Robert before eventually winning 6-1 6-2 6-7 6-2.