Williams and Kuznetsova reach last eight after opponents forced to retire

Serena Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova progressed to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open following the retirements of Victoria Azarenka and Zheng Jie respectively.  

Williams' opponent Azarenka won the first set 6-3 against the second seed. But when 3-2 down in the second the 13th seed from Belarus took a medical time out and left the court.  


Helping hand: Serena Williams went through despite not winning a set

She returned to play another game and a half but looking visibly distressed she was unable to continue and had to be helped from Rod Laver Arena.  

"I started really feeling sick in the morning and I was throwing up all the morning and just felt weak," Azarenka said.  

"Once I got to the court, I went to see the doctor and I felt a little bit better throughout the first set and a little bit of the second but then I just had no more energy to go on.  

"It's very disappointing for me that I played that well and I couldn't handle a little bit more because it was a really close game."  

Williams will now play Kuznetsova who was 4-1 up in the first set of her match when Zheng retired with a wrist injury.  

"I haven't played her (Kuznetsova) that much in my career, but we've played a couple of times," Williams said. " She's a good player, obviously, and gets a ton of balls back.   She's extremely strong. I think we have a similar game. I think it will be a great match."


Twist in the tale: Jie Zheng hurts her wrist and was eventually forced to retire against Kuznetsova

The Chinese 22nd seed fell during the third game of the match on Hisense Arena and landed awkwardly on her hand. She had her thumb and wrist strapped by the trainer and attempted to carry on but was unable to do so.  

"It was unfortunate she had an injury," Kuznetsova said. "But I think I started to play well. I'd been attacking her serve. I think I was in control of the match."  

The unheralded Carla Suarez Navarro marched into the last eight with a comfortable 6-3 6-2 victory against Anabel Medina Garrigues.  

The Spaniard, who upset Venus Williams in the second round, has equalled her best result in a grand slam after also reaching the quarter-finals of the French Open last year.  

Suarez Navarro, ranked 46 in the world, began strongly against her Spanish compatriot, taking an early 2-0 lead in the opening set before breaking the 21st seed again for a 4-1 advantage.  

Medina Garrigues then wasted three chances to break back in the seventh game as her unforced error tally mounted and Suarez Navarro was able to serve out the set. 


Hitting out: Suarez Navarro was dominant against her compatriot to reach a second Grand Slam quarter-final

The first five games of the second went with serve before some stunning backhand winners - she hit 24 in the match compared to Medina Garrigues' six - gave Suarez Navarro, 20, a break of serve. She broke again in a tight seventh game then successfully served for the match.  

She will meet Elena Dementieva in the last eight after the Russian had a comfortable 6-2 6-2 victory against Dominika Cibulkova, the Slovakian 18th seed.  

"I think the next round is a very difficult match. Dementieva is a very good player," Suarez Navarro said. "But it's different this time because it's the second time (I've been in a grand slam quarter-final). I think I can play better than the first time against (Jelena) Jankovic at Roland Garros."  

Dementieva met with little resistance from Cibulkova to reach the last eight at Melbourne Park for the first time. The Russian, who is on a 14-match winning streak after taking the titles in Auckland and Sydney in the build-up to the Open, sent 24 winners past her opponent who was not helped by an unforced error count of 21.  

The pair traded breaks until the sixth game when Dementieva finally held serve to go 4-2 up. Each outfoxed the other with lovely drop shots in the following game but Dementieva got the upper hand to take a 5-2 lead then fired down two aces on her way to claiming the set.  

The Russian was dominant in the second set, pounding the ball from the baseline to take a 5-0 lead and although Cibulkova clawed back two games Dementieva clinched the match with a superb backhand winner down the line.

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