Serena, Venus land in Aussie quarters

Melbourne, Australia ( – World No. 1 Serena Williams and
former top-ranked star Venus Williams secured berths in the quarterfinals at
the 2015 Australian Open.

Serena dropped the first set before rallying to top rising 24th-seeded
Spaniard Garbine Muguruza 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in two hours at Melbourne Park.

Muguruza stunned Serena at the French Open last year, handing the American,
who won just four games in that match in Paris, the worst loss of her Grand
Slam career in the process.

The 33-year-old American great blitzed her 21-year-old opponent with 17 aces
and won 38 of 49 first-serve points on Monday.

“It was a great match — congratulations to Garbine, she played so well,”
Serena said.

The 18-time Grand Slam champion and reigning U.S. Open titlist owns five
Aussie Open titles, but none since 2010.

Her quarterfinal opponent will be 11th-seeded Slovak Dominika Cibulkova, who
doused on-the-mend Belarusian star Victoria Azarenka, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Azarenka led 2-0 in the third set, but couldn’t hold on against the diminutive

“Today I wasn’t thinking about the score, I was just going for it,” Cibulkova
said. “And when I was up, I was going for it even more.

“I always have tough matches with Vika. The tennis she plays goes well with
mine,” Cibulkova added.

Cibulkova was last year’s Aussie runner-up to since-retired Chinese star Li

The former world No. 1 Azarenka is a two-time Aussie Open champ and two-time
U.S. Open runner-up. Her 2014 season was interrupted by a foot injury and
she’s been trying to re-locate her game since last spring.

In other fourth round action on Day 8 of the fortnight, an 18th-seeded Venus
remained undefeated in 2015 by surprising sixth-seeded former Wimbledon
runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 and rising Madison Keys vanquished
fellow American Madison Brengle 6-2, 6-4. Brengle reached her first-ever WTA
final in Hobart two weeks ago.

Venus will clash with the 19-year-old Keys in an all-American quarterfinal on

Venus is a seven-time Grand Slam champion who was the 2003 Aussie runner-up to
her younger sister. She’s a perfect 9-0 this year, including a title in
Auckland three weeks back.

The 34-year-old Venus was asked what her inspiration has been to keep plugging
away all these years.

“Definitely my sister Serena,” she replied. “She’s just the ultimate champion.
She definitely gives me a lot of inspiration. And of course all of my fans,
who’ve always stayed behind me.”

Keys will play in her first-ever Grand Slam quarterfinal when she faces

“It feels really good,” she said. “My mom texted me before the tournament. She
said, ‘It’s your last Grand Slam as a teenager,’ and sent me a bunch of
grandma faces. I’m like, ‘Thanks for reminding me mom! Thank you. Love you.’
But it’s huge. It’s my last Slam as a teenager. I hope I can keep it up.”

The quarterfinals will get underway Tuesday, as second-seeded former No. 1
Maria Sharapova will battle seventh-seeded Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie
Bouchard and third-seeded French Open finalist Simona Halep will take on
consistent 10th-seeded Russian left-hander Ekaterina Makarova.

Sharapova is 3-0 all-time against the Canadian Bouchard, including some French
Open match wins in 2013 and last year, while Halep is 1-0 lifetime versus

The reigning French Open champion Sharapova was the Aussie champ in 2008 and
runner-up in 2007 and 2012.