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Federer reaches record 27th straight quarterfinal

Federer equalled Connors` mark for consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinals appearances.



Melbourne: Defending champion Roger Federer
added another record to his vast collection on Sunday, matching
Jimmy Connors` mark for consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinals
appearances when he beat Tommy Robredo 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 at
the Australian Open.

Federer has reached the quarterfinals for 27 consecutive
majors since his third-round exit in the 2004 French Open,
equaling Connors` Open-era record.

The 16-time Grand Slam winner didn`t concede a point on
his serve in the first set, but had a lapse in the second when
Robredo`s serve was dominant and he took a set off Federer for
only the third time in 10 matches.

"I was struggling with my return, I couldn`t get the
balls into play I wanted to," Federer said. "I didn`t have the
best of games at 4-3 down, we don`t have much margin at the
very top and it shows."

Federer regained control in the third set and dominated
after getting an early break to lead 2-0.

"It`s a lot of hard work. I`m sweating bullets right
now," he said. "I`m excited to be in the next round."

Federer, aiming to be only the second man to win five
Australian Open titles, will play either Andy Roddick or
19th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland in the
quarterfinals. Roddick and Wawrinka play their fourth-round
match tonight.

Number 3-ranked Djokovic is aiming for his second
Australian crown. The 2008 champion advanced to the
quarterfinals for the 13th time in the last 15 majors with a
6-3, 6-4, 6-0 win over No. 14 Nicolas Almagro and will next
play 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych, who beat Fernando
Verdasco 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.

Caroline Wozniacki moved into the Australian Open
quarterfinals for the first time with a 6-3, 6-4 win over
Anastasija Sevastova and is just one victory from ensuring
she`ll 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.

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. I think they have to fear me when they`re playing
me," she said. "I just go out there and do my best. If they`re
better than me that day, it`s just too good."

Wozniacki lost three of the first four games of the match
before reeling off six in a row, including a break in the
first game of the second set. Sevastova, ranked No. 46,
rallied and the pair traded breaks until Wozniacki regained
control.

Wozniacki now has reached the quarterfinals at all four
majors, and she`s navigated some troublesome ground. According
to the WTA, only one of the last five women to be ranked No. 1
went beyond the first round in the first major they played
with the top ranking.

Li Na, already China`s most successful player, reached
the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-3 win over eighth-seeded
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

The ninth-seeded Li was one of two Chinese players to
reach the semifinals at Melbourne Park last year, her run
ending with a loss to eventual champion Serena Williams in two
tiebreak sets.

While Wozniacki says she`s not frightened of any of her
fellow players, she did use part of her post-match press
conference to describe an up-close encounter with a baby
kangaroo that had scarred her.

She said she tried to pet the kangaroo and it scratched
her, and noted she had seen a doctor and rejected advice to
get stitches.

But she later tweeted: "Round 2 with the media:) hope you
enjoyed my kangaroo story, hope you know i was just kidding:)
see you on tuesday for round 3!"

The WTA confirmed Wozniacki had told them the kangaroo
story wasn`t true. Perhaps she hasn`t heard the fable about
the shepherd boy and the wolf.

Bureau Report

From Zee News

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