Melbourne, Australia: Fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber has been bundled in the fourth round of the Australian Open by the woman who ousted Serena Williams at the same stage last year.
No 19-seeded Ekaterina Makarova had a 7-5, 6-4 win in the opening match Sunday on Rod Laver Arena, taking out the highest seed to tumble so far at the season’s first major.
Makarova beat Williams in the fourth round in 2012 at Melbourne Park and went on to reach the quarterfinals, which remains her best result at a Grand Slam. Kerber and Makarova were two of only four women in 2012 to beat Williams, who finished off unbeaten post- August with titles at Wimbledon, the London Olympics, the U.S. Open and the WTA Championships.
Wimbledon semifinalist Kerber had beaten Makarova three times last year, including in the second round at Wimbledon.
“Seems like it was the same this year and last year. Unbelievable feeling,” Makarova said. “I really like to play here. The crowd is so perfect.”
The 24-year-old Makarova could meet fellow Russian, No 2-ranked Maria Sharapova, in the quarterfinals, at the same stage they met last year. Sharapova can advancing by beating playing Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens later Sunday in the fourth round.
“Actually I really want to play against Maria because I lost here last year in the quarters and I play a lot of times against her last year,” Makarova said. “Now I’m pretty confident and I like my game.”
“Last year I was so surprised … and I had so many thoughts in my mind. This year I’m a little bit used to it, so I think I’ll be ready to play a good game.”