Wozniacki fixes eyes on elusive Slam
Henin ousted, but Roddick moves on
MELBOURNE — Caroline Wozniacki beat Dominika Cibulkova today, 6-4, 6-3, to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open, avenging last week’s loss.
Wozniacki, playing her first Grand Slam as the world’s top-ranked player, advanced to the fourth round for the seventh consecutive major.
Still aiming to win her first Grand Slam title, the 20-year-old Danish player can hold onto the No. 1 ranking by reaching the semifinals.
French Open champion Francesca Schiavone also moved on, beating Monica Niculescu of Romania, 6-0, 7-6 (2).
Wozniacki said last week’s loss to Cibulkova in Sydney helped her prepare for the rematch, and she was confident she could continue the success she had last year, when she won a tour-leading six titles.
“It’s a new year. I’m in the fourth round here. It’s good,’’ she said.
Novak Djokovic knows what it takes to win a major. He beat Roger Federer in the semifinals here in 2008 en route to the championship. He hasn’t added to his Grand Slam collection, but did help Serbia to its first ever Davis Cup title last month.
Djokovic advanced after playing just one set in his third-round match against Davis Cup teammate Viktor Troicki. The 2008 Australian Open champion had just won the first set, 6-2, when Troicki retired, citing a stomach muscle strain.
“It’s not really the way you want to win — especially if you’re playing against one of your best friends,’’ Djokovic said.
The pair spent a long time celebrating after Serbia’s first Davis Cup title, which Troicki clinched, 3-2, with a win in the deciding singles match last month.
Andy Roddick, the No. 8 seed, overcame a slow start before slamming 32 aces to beat Robin Haase, 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2, 6-2, and move into the fourth round.
Justine Henin wasn’t as fortunate. A year after reaching the final in her comeback to Grand Slam tennis, Henin lost in the third round to Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-4, 7-6 (8).
It was Henin’s first loss in a major to Kuznetsova, the former French and US Open champion, and her worst run at a Grand Slam since Wimbledon in 2005.
Henin was only weeks into a comeback when she lost in the final last year to Serena Williams, the third time in four appearances that she’d reached the championship match. Her comeback season was derailed when she injured her right elbow at Wimbledon, and she didn’t play again in 2010.
Li Na of China, the No. 9 seed who reached the semifinals here last year before losing in two tiebreak sets against Williams, advanced with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.
Rafael Nadal has had plenty to celebrate after three consecutive Grand Slam titles. His winning streak in majors is up to 23 matches and he’s five wins from being the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slam titles at once.
Nadal pounded another up-and-comer into submission yesterday, beating American qualifier Ryan Sweeting, 6-2, 6-1, 6-1.
And Kim Clijsters just wants everyone to know she’s not pregnant again. She brought up the subject herself — right there on the stadium court before an interviewer — and swatted down the misguided chatter with great delight as if putting away an opponent with an overhead.
Clijsters has already quit tennis once to get married and have a child, only to return after 2 1/2 years and win the 2009 US Open. She won the US Open again last year and is fast emerging as the Melbourne favorite.
She’s dropped only four games in two rounds, a 6-1, 6-3 win over Carla Suarez Navarro following her first-round 6-0, 6-0 romp over formerly top-ranked Dinara Safina.
Nadal also has lost only four games in two rounds, and says his nine Grand Slam crowns have given him “a lot of calm’’ as he chases his Rafa Slam.
Clijsters made the most of her chance with on-court interviewer Todd Woodbridge. The doubles great had sent a text message to fellow Australian Rennae Stubbs saying in not-so-subtle terms that Clijsters was acting and looking as if she’s pregnant.
Problem was, Stubbs showed Clijsters the text message. Lucky all three are friends.
“You thought I was pregnant?’’ she chided Woodbridge, laughing and patting him on the shoulder. “No, I’m not.’’