(January 26, 2015) Serena Williams gained some revenge at the Australian Open on Monday for an early round loss at the French Open last year, when she rallied to beat Spain’s Garbine Muguruza 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals.
The 18-time major champion, seeking her sixth title in Melbourne lost badly to No. 24 Muguruza in the second round of last year’s Roland Garros 6-2, 6-2. She avenged one of her worst Grand Slam tournament losses with the victory on Monday.
Williams saved six break points in an almost 13-minute game, the second game of the third set. Williams then broke Muguruza’s serve twice before closing the match.
“It was a great match – congratulations to Garbiñe, she played so well,” Williams said in an on-court interview.
“She did everything she needed to do in the first set. For once I didn’t start out slowly, she was just playing so well at the start. She hits the ball really, really big and really, really hard.
“But I started to focus from there and just relaxed a little bit.”
“She made me play a lot better,” Williams said in press. “I had to play the best match of the tournament or else I was going to be out. I think she was just hitting winners like left and right. Every shot I hit, she basically hit a winner on. So I had to change my approach. I was hitting a little bit too much to her.”
“The hardest part, I mean, mentally she’s amazing,” said Muguruza . She’s world No. 1. She has the power to be all the match without saying anything, concentrate, waiting for her opportunity. I mean, the serve, when she serves good, it’s really difficult to return. And then in the back, she’s very strong. So it’s very difficult to find the spot to beat her.
Williams will play Dominika Cibulkova in the quarterfinals. Cibulkova, who reached the final of the Australian Open last year, beat two-time champion Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 under a closed roof in Rod Laver Arena in a very intense match. Due to injuries last year the Belarusian saw her ranking fall into the 40’s and came into the tournament unseeded.
The woman from the Slovak Republic hit 44 winners and broke Azarenka seven time during the match. This marks the sixth time that the No. 10 player Cibulkova has reached a major quarterfinal
Today was extremely, extremely good match from my side,” Cibulkova said. “I would say it was a high level of tennis. The first set, the way I played, was just really, really — no mistakes. I was going for my shots and I was just doing the right things. I was really putting her under so much pressure. And then — then she stepped up in the second set much more. She started to serve better and return better. So she kept me out of the — more behind the baseline. Then in the third set I just knew I have to go for it more than hundred percent. I knew I have to be much more aggressive and just stay there and to go for my shots. So, yeah, today was really, really tough one, but I managed to get through. It was such a good match.”
“I take it as a progress,” Azarenka said of her run in Melbourne. “I think there are a lot of the positive things to take from here. It’s a good start. There was some good quality of tennis today, even though the result is not the one that I wanted and not what I was looking for. But I need to be realistic a little bit and keep working hard and try to sharpen my game. I need to be more consistent and I need to be able to take my opportunities when I have them. But overall, I can be pretty happy. But I’m such a perfectionist that I don’t want to be satisfied.”
“She really went for her shots today and was very fearless throughout whole match,” Azarenka said of her opponent. “She’s the type of player that sometimes you just get — she gets in that groove and it’s a little bit difficult to break that rhythm. But I think I still had my opportunities, and I really just didn’t — I wasn’t present enough today, and she was there. She jumped on those opportunities and really took control of that. So I think in that aspect, I have to give her a lot of credit.”
“Well, she is a really good player,” Williams answered when asked about playing Cibulkova. “I mean, to be her size, she hits so hard and she plays so well. She’s just such a power, compact, great player. I just have to stay focused and not underestimate her. She actually almost beat me before. I want to make sure I come ready and prepared.”
Serena Williams has a 4-0 record versus Cibulkova.