MELBOURNE, Australia — Fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber has been ousted in the fourth round of the Australian Open by the woman who defeated Serena Williams at the same stage last year.
No. 19-seeded Ekaterina Makarova had a 7-5, 6-4 win in the opening match Sunday on Rod Laver Arena, taking out the highest seed to tumble so far at the season’s first major.
Makarova beat Williams in the fourth round in 2012 at Melbourne Park and went on to reach the quarterfinals, which remains her best result at a Grand Slam.
The 24-year-old Makarova could meet fellow Russian, No. 2-ranked Maria Sharapova, in the quarterfinals, at the same stage they met last year. Sharapova can advance by beating playing Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens in the fourth round.
Another pair who met here last year played out a similar result on Saturday night, with No. 2-ranked Roger Federer knocking Bernard Tomic out of the tournament in straight sets to end Australia’s participation in either the men’s or women’s singles draws.
Federer gave the 20-year-old Aussie a reality check by breaking him in the very first game to set up a 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-1 win.
Federer, who has won four of his 17 Grand Slam titles at Melbourne Park, also beat Tomic in the fourth round here last year.
“It’s not my favorite part of the job beating up on the hometown heroes,” Federer told the crowd at Rod Laver Arena, where he has won four of his 17 Grand Slam titles. “But it’s nice that you guys sort of invite me back every year.”
Federer will face Canadian Milos Raonic, who had 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-4 win over Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber in a matchup of two big servers.
The third round ended in the early hours of Sunday morning, when No. 14-seeded Gilles Simon outlasted fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 1-6, 8-6. Simon and Jeremy Chardy, who ousted 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, were among the four Frenchman who advanced on Saturday.
Their compatriots, No. 7-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – who beat Slovenian Blaz Kavcic 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 – No. 9 Richard Gasquet – who ousted Croatia’s Ivan Dodig 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-0 – will meet in the next round.
Andy Murray advanced to the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 win over Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis.
Defending women’s champion Victoria Azarenka struggled at times before putting away injured Jamie Hampton 6-4, 4-6. 6-2. No. 3 Serena Williams dropped serve early in the second set before winning the last six games in her 6-1, 6-3 win over Japan’s Ayumi Morita.
Azarenka next plays Elena Vesnina, who beat 16th-seeded Roberta Vinci of Italy 7-6 (4), 6-4.
Williams, aiming for a third consecutive Grand Slam title, will next meet No. 14 Maria Kirilenko, who beat No. 20 Yanina Wickmayer 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Also advancing were former U.S. and French Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova and former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki. Sloane Stephens beat Laura Robson 7-5, 6-3 in a matchup between the only teenagers left in the women’s draw.