Australian Open 2014: Caroline Wozniacki down and out but Rafael Nadal keeps up winning ways

 

Melbourne

When Caroline Wozniacki was world No 1, her critics always pointed to the fact that she had never won a Grand Slam title. Now that the 23-year-old Dane is heading out of the world’s top 10 it seems she does not even have it in her to make the quarter-finals any more.

Rory McIlroy’s fiancée lost 4-6 7-5 6-3 yesterday to Spain’s Garbine Muguruza in the third round of the Australian Open. She has not reached the last eight of a Grand Slam event since she lost her world No 1 position two years ago and, already down to No 10 in the list, she is likely to fall further when it is updated a week tomorrow.

Wozniacki had never gone beyond the Australian Open semi-finals but had enjoyed a consistently good record at Melbourne Park, reaching the fourth round in six of her previous seven appearances.

Muguruza, in contrast, had never reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam event anywhere, but the Venezuela-born 20-year-old is one of the game’s emerging talents. Tall, strong, athletic and quick, the world No 38 hits the ball with great power and moves across the court with elegant ease. She now meets Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska,

Rafael Nadal is currently into his 115th week at the top of the world rankings and showing no sign whatsoever of relinquishing his position. Gaël Monfils, the hard-hitting Frenchman, was regarded by some as a major threat to the Spaniard’s passage into the last 16, but Nadal crushed him 6-1 6-2 6-3. He later described the performance as his best so far at a tournament where he has not dropped a set or his serve. Nadal, who will meet Japan’s Kei Nishikori for a place in the quarter-finals, was pushed hard by Monfils in the Doha final a fortnight ago but this time the world No 32 never got close. “Definitely today he was in great shape,” Monfils said. “Much better than Doha, for sure. I would say today was the best I have seen him play for a while.”

If he finds a way past Nishikori, Nadal will face either Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov or Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut. Andy Murray or Roger Federer are potential semi-final opponents.

Federer is another making impressive progress. The Swiss set up an attractive fourth-round meeting with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with his third successive straight-sets win, beating Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-2 6-2 6-3.

Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, the top seeds in the bottom half of the women’s draw, also moved into the second week with straight-set victories. Azarenka, chasing a third successive title here, crushed Yvonne Meusburger 6-1 6-0 to set up a rematch with Sloane Stephens following her controversial meeting with the American last year.

Stephens, who was playing in her first Grand Slam semi-final 12 months ago, had just saved five match points to get the second set back on serve when Azarenka took a long medical time-out before breaking Stephens to secure victory.

Sharapova again looked in erratic form as she beat France’s Alize Cornet 6-1 7-6. The Russian, who now plays Dominika Cibulkova, was so unhappy with her performance that she headed straight to the practice courts after the match.

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England