x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Caroline Wozniacki powers into Australian Open quarter-finals

The world No 1 ranked Dane is comfortably into the last eight, beating Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 6-4 in Melbourne.

MELBOURNE // Caroline Wozniacki moved into the Australian Open quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Anastasija Sevastova and is just one win from ensuring she will retain the No 1 ranking.

The 20-year-old Dane, playing her first major with the top ranking, finished off Sevastova with a powerful forehand winner in one hour, 20mins to advance to the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park for the first time. She willll keep her top ranking just by reaching the semi-finals.

Wozniacki lost an early service game to her Latvian rival and was down a break but rallied to win six straight games to close the set and open the second with a service break.

But 46th-ranked Sevastova rallied and the pair traded breaks until Wozniacki regained control and completed a set — she has now reached the quarter-finals at all four majors.

And she's navigated some troublesome ground. The WTA reports that only one of the last five women to be ranked No 1 went beyond the first round in the first major they played with the top ranking.

China's Li Na also advances, beating eighth seed Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-3 today.

Li, who lost to Serena Williams in last year's Melbourne semi-finals, had too much firepower for Azarenka, the ninth seed blowing her off court in 88 minutes.

The first Chinese player to reach the top 10 in 2010, Li wrapped up an easy win with another crunching backhand Azarenka wearily dumped into the net.

Li will face either the former champion Maria Sharapova or Germany's Andrea Petkovic in the last eight.