Melbourne: Defending champion Roger Federer matched a Grand Slam mark for consistency, while Francesca Schiavone set one for endurance during a day of records at the Australian Open.
Federer equaled Jimmy Connors’ run of consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances when he beat Tommy Robredo 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 Sunday. The 16-time Grand Slam winner has reached the quarterfinals at 27 majors in a row since 2004.
He’ll next play Stanislas Wawrinka in the first all-Swiss quarterfinal at a major in the Open era. Wawrinka defeated Andy Roddick 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in Day 7’s last match at Melbourne Park, leaving the year’s first Grand Slam tournament without an American man or woman in the quarterfinals.
“Obviously wasn’t the showing that we wanted, you know, but I’m doing what I can,” said Roddick, who said Wawrinka completely outplayed him.
On the women’s side, French Open champion Schiavone established a Grand Slam record, needing 4 hours, 44 minutes for her 6-4, 1-6, 16-14 fourth-round win over Svetlana Kuznetsova.
The Italian saved six match points, then converted on her third match point in the longest women’s match at a major in terms of time in the Open era. The previous record was set here last year when Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova beat Regina Kulikova 7-6 (5), 6-7 (10), 6-3 in a match lasting 4:19.
The 30-year-old Schiavone battled exhaustion but, “at the end, you have something more, always.”
“Was for me, fantastic,” she said. “When you’re in a situation like this, every point is like a match point. You have to keep going. You know that physically you’re tired. Mentally just keep going.”
Kuznetsova said the match was so long she was forgetting the score or who should serve.
Schiavone said it wasn’t quite that bad for her, “but I was watching the clock, and I say — ‘Brava, Francesca, you are tough!’”
Schiavone will meet top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals.
Later in the day, 2008 champion Maria Sharapova lost 6-2, 6-3 to Andrea Petkovic, who had a relatively easy run into the fourth round when Venus Williams — the last American in the women’s draw — retired after just four minutes in their third-round match. Sharapova attributed her loss to just a “bad day in the office.” She took one positive — it was better than her first-round exit last year.
Petkovic will now take on China’s Li Na, a semifinalist here last year, in the quarterfinals.
Federer 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.
Federer, seeking a fifth Australian title, 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.”
He admitted he’d had a tough first week, including a five-set win over Gilles Simon.
“I’m in another quarterfinal. Got all the chances to make it to the semis again,” Federer said, “so I’m very pleased.”
Connors reached the quarterfinals in 27 consecutive majors he entered between 1973 to 1983 — although he missed 13 Grand Slam tournaments during that period either through injury or because he didn’t travel to Australia.
No. 3-ranked Novak 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.
Wozniacki moved into the Australian Open quarterfinals for the first time with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Anastasija Sevastova. The 20-year-old Dane, playing her first major as world No. 1, can keep her top ranking with an appearance in the semis.
Her play has diminished questions about her worthiness as the No. 1 player.
“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,” Wozniacki 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 her match before reeling off six in a row to take control.
She now has reached the quarterfinals at all four majors. 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, according to the WTA.
She also navigated another challenge off the court after telling a false story about being scratched by a kangaroo in a postmatch news conference.
She described 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!”
She later returned to Melbourne Park to clarify she’d made up the story and to apologize, saying she didn’t think anyone would believe it.