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Mission-minded No. 1s on target

Caroline Wozniacki, the women’s No. 1, is without a Grand Slam title but now she’s in the quarterfinals in Australia.

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Caroline Wozniacki, the women’s No. 1, is without a Grand Slam title but now she’s in the quarterfinals in Australia.

MELBOURNE, Australia — Caroline Wozniacki moved into the Australian Open women's quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Anastasija Sevastova early today and is just one victory from ensuring she will retain the top ranking.

The 20-year-old Dane, playing her first major as world No. 1, reached the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park for the first time. She can keep her top ranking with an appearance in the semis.

She wants more than that, though. She's aiming for a first Grand Slam title.

The questions about Wozniacki's worthiness of the top ranking are starting to diminish. Asked which player she feared most, she said: "I don't fear anyone actually."

"I'm feeling confident. I feel like I can beat anyone on a good day," she added. "I think they have to fear me when they're playing me."

China's Li Na reached the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-3 win over eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka.

Also, French Open finalist and part-time Tampa resident Sam Stosur fell 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 to No. 25 Petra Kvitova. "I actually thought I played really well," Stosur said. "So, it's hard to walk off the court thinking you played well."

And U.S. Open champion Kim Clijsters beat Alize Cornet 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 and moved a step closer to back-to-back majors.

On the men's side, Novak Djokovic advanced to the quarterfinals for the 13th time in his last 15 majors with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 win over No. 14 Nicolas Almagro.

And everything is still on track for a "Rafa Slam" as Rafael Nadal extended his Grand Slam win streak to 24 matches with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 win Saturday night in the third round.

Nadal beat 18-year-old Bernard Tomic at Melbourne Park, which had attracted a record crowd — 77,121 across Saturday's day and night sessions. Tomic, hyped as the next big thing for Australian tennis, was the only player from Down Under left.

Nadal, aiming for his fourth Slam win in a row, was sweating profusely on court and said he still had the lingering effects of an illness that slowed him down at the start of the year. He said he has been tired and sweating more than usual during play.

"I was perfect when I started the season," Nadal said. "In Doha, I had that problem. I wasn't feeling very well. Have fever and these things. Seems like after that my body is still not perfect."

In the second set, Tomic broke Nadal's serve twice to lead 4-0, but the teen won only one more game in the set, for a 5-4 lead, before Nadal was able to win the points when it counted.

Tomic was amazed when he got an up-close look at Nadal's energy and consistency.

"I thought it was over at 4-love, and that's when he came back," Tomic said. "… Physically-wise, he is a machine."

>>Fast facts

Key results

Men: Nadal (1) d. Tomic 6-2, 7-5, 6-3; Djokovic (3) d. Almagro (14) 6-3, 6-4, 6-0; Ferrer (7) d. Berankis 6-2, 6-2, 6-1; Melzer (11) d. Baghdatis (21) 6-7 (7-5), 6-2, 6-1, 4-3, retired; Cilic (15) d. Isner (20) 4-6, 6-2, 6-7 (7-5), 7-6 (7-2), 9-7

Women: Wozniacki (1) d. Sevastova 6-3, 6-4; Clijsters (3) d. Cornet 7-6 (7-3), 6-3; Kvitova (25) d. Stosur (5) 7-6 (7-5), 6-3; Na (9) d. Azarenka (8) 6-3, 6-3; Pennetta (22) d. Peer (10) 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4

On TV: 7 tonight and 3:30 a.m. Monday, ESPN2

Mission-minded No. 1s on target 01/22/11 [Last modified: Saturday, January 22, 2011 11:49pm]
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