Williams, Federer through to quarters
By Dennis Passa ,APMELBOURNE -- Five months after he ended a 76-year drought for British men in Grand Slam tournaments with a win at the U.S. Open, Andy Murray is into the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and on track to make it two in a row.
January 22, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
The third-seeded Murray easily beat Gilles Simon of France 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 on Monday, his fourth straight-sets win in a row, and will play unseeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the quarterfinals.
Simon was coming off a tough five-set win over fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils and clearly wasn't in any shape to challenge Murray.
“After the first few games, I mean, it didn't feel like that competitive,” Murray said. “Sort of at this stage of a Grand Slam you're sort of gee'd up and prepared for a tough battle. That's why it becomes hard because the emotions aren't quite into it.”
Roger Federer overcame big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals at a 35th consecutive Grand Slam tournament.
Federer has won four of his 17 major titles at Melbourne Park, where he has reached the semifinals or better every year since first winning the Australian Open in 2004.
The last time Federer failed to reach the last eight at a major was at the 2004 French Open, where he lost in the third round to Gustavo Kuerten. He next plays No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a finalist here in 2008.
The 22-year-old Raonic, seeded 13th, missed another chance to be the first Canadian man into a Grand Slam quarterfinal in the Open era.
In women's play, Serena Williams had a similarly easy time advancing to the quarterfinals and a chance to win her third major in a row with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Maria Kirilenko. She's still on course for potential semifinal meeting with defending champion Victoria Azarenka, who advanced 6-1, 6-1 over Elena Vesnina earlier in the day.
“I didn't expect to come out and play so well tonight,” Williams said. “I was like 'Wow!' I saw I had 95-percent first serves in the first set. I said 'Who is this girl?' It's not me usually.”
Williams has lost only one match since her first-round exit at the French Open last year. Since then, she has won the Wimbledon, Olympic, U.S. Open, season-ending championship and Brisbane International titles.
Her 57-minute win over Kirilenko extended her current winning streak to 20 matches.
The 31-year-old Williams can become the oldest woman to hold the world No. 1-ranking by winning her sixth Australian Open title. She next plays 19-year-old American Sloane Stephens, who reached the quarterfinals at a major for the first time with a 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 win earlier Monday over Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia.