Simple for Simon in Australian Open

January 26th, 2009 - 1:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Serena WilliamsMelbourne, Jan 26 (DPA) Gilles Simon and Serena Williams advanced through to the Australian Open quarter-finals Monday as their opponents quit after being injured.Men’s sixth seed Simon broke through into his first Grand Slam last-eight spot, a 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 victory blighted by the retirement of opponent Gael Monfils with a right wrist injury.

Williams was on court for just under 90 minutes when 13th seed Victoria Azarenka succumbed to what appeared to be illness, handing over a 3-6, 4-2 win to the three-time champion.

“I just want to go and see if she’s OK,” said Williams. “She was playing so well. But she can’t risk it. I hope she did the right thing by quitting.”

Williams dropped the opening set but began to turn the tide as Azarenka’s strength was sapped away by the ailment. She left the court in tears.

The 27-year-old Williams stayed in the race for the WTA number one ranking held by defeated Jelena Jankovic, chasing along with Elena Dementieva, a 6-2, 6-2 winner over Dominika Cibulkova, and Russian Dinara Safina.

Unfancied Carla Suarez Navarro, who beat Venus Williams, continued to excel as she reached the quarters over Spanish compatriot Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-2.

Simon will await an opponent from top seed Rafael Nadal and Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez.

“Of course I didn’t want to win like this,” said Simon. “I’m sorry, but that is tennis. But I have a quarter-final to play in two days, and I just have to focus on this.

“I can’t win against him if I just play my game as usual, because he really likes to run right, left, right, left, every time,” Simon said of his speedy compatriot.

“It’s just useless against him. That’s why I just wanted to play slower than usual, just to try to attack, I wanted to have a speed difference.”

France could duplicate a 2006 Melbourne Park showing by placing two men into the last eight if last year’s finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beats James Blake.

Monfils, ranked 13th to the eight of Simon, took treatment on his troubled wrist near the end, walking off the court to applause.

Simon broke five times in his first ATP meeting with Monfils, striking 29 winners. Monfils was troubled with 31 unforced errors in his hampered game.

Simon made a rapid rise up the rankings in the second half of 2008, breaking the Top 20 and then the Top 10 for the first time in the space of three months.

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