Serena loss blows draw wide open


The Australian Open women’s draw was thrown wide open Monday after Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova shocked Serena Williams in the fourth round, as Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova won in straight sets. Makarova, the world number 56, reached a grand slam quarter-final for the first time when she stunned a below-par Williams 6-2, 6-3 and will now face former champion Maria Sharapova, who battled back from a set down to progress. There were no such problems for Kvitova, who held off a late fight-back from Ana Ivanovic to win 6-2, 7-6 (7/2) and move into a quarter-final showdown against Italian Sara Errani, a 6-2, 6-1 winner over China’s Zheng Jie. Williams, a 13-time grand slam winner, was expected to cruise past Makarova, who surprised seventh seed Vera Zvonareva in the third round. But almost from the first point it was obvious that Williams, who suffered an ankle injury this month in Brisbane, was not her usual self as mistakes came thick and fast from her racquet, 37 in all. The 30-year-old sent down seven double-faults as she was broken five times, ending a 17-match unbeaten streak at Melbourne Park stretching back to 2009. “I served, I don’t know. I can’t even describe how I served to be honest,” she said. “It wasn’t good, though. “My lefty serve is actually better than that. Maybe I should have started serving lefty… I just did not serve well. It was just disastrous really.” Makarova broke Williams twice in the first set to win the opener but the American seemed to get back on track with an early break in the second — only to surrender it the next game. Makarova held serve to level the set at 2-2, then broke again as a frustrated Williams served four double faults, the last to concede the game.