Eight of the top 10 women in tennis are injured or have become sick in the lead-up to the Australian Open, the latest being Angelique Kerber of Germany after she withdrew from the Sydney International yesterday with a stomach illness, pulling out of her second-round match against Ekaterina Makarova of Russia.
“I am very sorry I cannot go on court today, but I am not feeling 100 percent,” Kerber said. “I do not want to risk my health before Melbourne.”
Simona Halep of Romania showed signs of improvement, shrugging off an Achilles tendon problem that forced her out of the Brisbane International to beat Caroline Garcia 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in the second round and move into the quarter-finals, where she is seeded No. 1.
Sara Errani of Italy rallied from 5-1 down in the second set, saving seven set points, to beat former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (10/8) to advance to the quarter-finals.
Fifth-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 6-3, 6-0, while eighth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland defeated Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-3, 6-3.
Samantha Stosur of Australia also reached the Sydney quarter-finals for the first time in 11 years when she beat Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-2. Stosur was runner-up at the tournament in 2005.
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia was beaten 1-6, 0-6 by Monica Puig of Puerto Rico, while Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia defeated Sabine Lisicki of Germany 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.
In the men’s draw, Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia beat seventh-seeded Leonardo Mayer of Argentina 6-4, 6-3, eighth-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine beat Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-1, 6-4 and Nicolas Mahut of France beat countryman Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 7-5.
Jeremy Chardy of France, Gilles Muller of Luxembourg, James Duckworth of Australia and Federico Delbonis of Argentina also advanced to the next round.
Eugenie Bouchard of Canada continued her comeback from injury with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Alison van Uytvanck of Belgium. She is playing in only her third tournament since she sustained a concussion when she fell in the dressing room at the US Open in September last year.
Second-seeded Camila Giorgi of Italy beat Nao Hibino of Japan 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals, along with Johanna Larsson of Sweden, who defeated Margarita Gasparyan of Russia 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, and Alize Cornet of France, who won 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 against Veronica Cepede of Paraguay.
In the first round of the doubles, Taiwan’s Chuang Chia-jung and Alexandra Dulgheru were knocked out by the second seeds in just 50 minutes.
Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands and Johanna Larsson of Sweden saved three of four break points and converted five of 11 on their way to a comprehensive 6-1, 6-3 victory over the Taiwanese-Romanian duo.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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