Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Serena sizzles as No. 1 Azarenka struggles

MELBOURNE, Australia — Title favorite Serena Williams and defending champion Victoria Azarenka advanced in contrasting styles to the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Williams, aiming for a third consecutive major title, recovered from a breakdown in the second set early today to win six straight games and finish off a 6-1, 6-3 win over Japan's Ayumi Morita in 66 minutes.

The 15-time major winner surprised herself with another serve at 128 mph, matching her career fastest serve she hit earlier in the tournament.

"I tried to hit it really hard. I hit 207 (kilometers per hour) the other day and I thought it was luck," she said. "But I did it again and I was like, 'Whew!' I'm going to try to go for 210."

Meanwhile, top-ranked Azarenka struggled to hold off injured American Jamie Hampton 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

Hampton needed a medical timeout for a lower back problem before she served out the second set and winced in pain throughout the third. She managed to hit 41 winners and fluster Azarenka, who didn't help herself with six double faults and 28 unforced errors.

"She played incredible, went for every single shot," Azarenka said. "I felt it was touching every single line. She took a medical timeout, but she rips winners all over the place. And I was like, 'Can I have a back problem?' I'm feeling great, but I'm missing every shot."

The women's No. 1 overcame an early break and fended off triple break point in the seventh game of the deciding set before clinching the match.

Second-seeded Maria Sharapova ousted Venus Williams 6-1, 6-3 late Friday for her first victory over the seven-time major winner in a Grand Slam.

After 6-0, 6-0 wins in the first two rounds — the first time that happened at a major since 1985 — Sharapova has conceded the fewest number of games en route to the fourth round at the Australian Open since Steffi Graf 24 years ago. Graf also lost only four games in her first three matches.

"Definitely not my best day," said Venus Williams, now 32 and ranked 26th. She spent much of the match lunging after Sharapova's returns and groundstrokes instead of attacking.

On the men's side, top-ranked Novak Djokovic took another step toward a third consecutive title, beating Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-3, 7-5.

Djokovic did not have an easy time against the 31st seed, who used his serve-and-volley game to win 36 of the 67 points at the net, forcing Djokovic out of his comfort zone.

But Djokovic embraced his foe afterward, saying: "Great match and great fun. It's always tricky to play Radek."

Obituary: Gertrude "Gussie" Moran, who shocked the tennis world in 1949 when she took the court at Wimbledon with a short skirt and ruffled underwear, died at age 89 in Los Angeles. She had recently been hospitalized with cancer.

.Australian Open

Key results

Men Novak Djokovic (1) d. Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-3, 7-5; David Ferrer (4) d. Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 6-2, 6-3; Tomas Berdych (5) d. Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

Women Victoria Azarenka (1) d. Jamie Hampton 6-4, 4-6, 6-2; Maria Sharapova (2) d. Venus Williams 6-1, 6-3; Serena Williams (3) d. Ayumi Morita 6-1, 6-3; Maria Kirilenko (14) d. Yanina Wickmayer 7-6 (7-4), 6-3.

Today on TV: 7 p.m. Tennis; 9 p.m., 3 a.m., ESPN2

Serena sizzles as No. 1 Azarenka struggles 01/18/13 [Last modified: Saturday, January 19, 2013 12:13am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. State baseball: Bishop McLaughlin bows out of Class 3A semifinals


    FORT MYERS — One inning into Bishop McLaughlin's Class 3A state semifinal against Fort Myers Canterbury, things could not have gone much better for the Hurricanes. They grabbed a quick one-run lead and Canterbury ace Sam Keating was forced out of the game with a nagging neck injury.

     Chris Berglund (18) of Bishop McLaughlin, at bat during second inning of the FHSAA class 3A semi-final on Friday May 26, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Canterbury, Fort Myers, defeated Bishop 7 to 4. Canterbury will play in the 3A championship tomorrow.
  2. Bucs WR DeSean Jackson knows only one direction: full speed ahead


    TAMPA — DeSean Jackson is the "1."

    Actually, Jackson, the Bucs' latest weapon for quarterback Jameis Winston, with his blazing speed and game-changing splash plays, wears No. 11 in games.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  3. Video preview: Rays open tough road trip facing Twins tonight


    After splitting a four-game series against the Angels to wrap up a winning homestand, the Rays tonight open a nine-game, 10-day roadtrip with the first game of the weekend series with the Twins:

  4. For starters: Rays, Archer take on surprising Twins to open road trip


    UPDATE, 5:45: And here is the Twins lineup:
    Dozier 2b
    Mauer 1b
    Sano 3b
    Kepler rf
    Vargas dh
    Polanco ss
    Rosario lf
    Buxton cf
    Castro c
    Santiago p

  5. Hard to believe NFL overtime change is about player safety


    If someone's house was engulfed in flames, would you hand him a fire extinguisher?

    Of course not.

    Fans await the beginning of overtime between the Patriots and Falcons in Super Bowl LI in February. [Associated Press]