MELBOURNE, Australia – Serena Williams reached the Australian Open quarterfinals when a tearful and dizzy Victoria Azarenka had to retire in the second set today due to sickness.
The 19-year-old from Belarus was one of three players who had to withdraw from fourth-round matches on a sunny but mild day in Melbourne, with temperatures about 75 degrees.
The second-seeded Williams was up a service break at 4-2 in the second set after No. 13 Azarenka had won the first set 6-3. Azarenka, serving at 30-30, wobbled back into the shade at the rear of the court.
Officials said Azarenka was suffering from dizziness and an “undisclosed illness.”
Williams, seeking a 10th Grand Slam singles title, next plays 2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, who advanced when Zheng Zie of China retired at 4-1 in the first set.
No. 22 Zheng injured her left wrist when she tumbled after the third game. She had treatment immediately but retired two games later.
The all-French men’s match between No. 6 Gilles Simon and his longtime friend Gael Monfils lasted only three sets. No. 6 Simon, who was leading 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 when No. 12 Monfils withdrew with a right wrist problem, reached the quarterfinals at a major for the first time.
The winners of the two completed women’s matches meet in the quarterfinals.
Carla Suarez Navarro, the 20-year-old Spaniard, beat No. 21 Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-2.
She next plays Olympic gold medalist Elena Dementieva, the No. 4 seed from Russia who made the quarterfinals for the first time in 11 years at Melbourne Park with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova.
The top eight seeds in the men’s draw made it to the fourth round here for the first time since 1970.
No. 1 Rafael Nadal, No. 4 Andy Murray and No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were in action later today. If the top eight reach the quarters, it will be a first in a Grand Slam in the Open era.
Simon secured his place quickly today. No. 2 Roger Federer, No. 3 Novak Djokovic, No. 7 Andy Roddick and No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro all made it through Sunday.
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