|Kim Clijsters celebrates her victory over Ekaterina Makarova at the Australian Open on Monday. (REUTERS/Tim Wimborne)
MELBOURNE, Australia -- U.S. Open champion Kim Clijsters and second-seeded Vera Zvonareva were a pair of fourth-round winners Monday at the 2011 Australian Open.
The third-seeded former world No. 1 Clijsters got past unseeded Ekaterina Makarova 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 in Monday's nightcap at Rod Laver Arena.
Clijsters held two set points in the 12th game of the first set on Makarova's serve, but the Russian survived to force a tiebreak. The Belgian star dominated the extra session and then just cruised from there.
The 27-year-old Clijsters, who called for a trainer after the third game of the second set and took some medication, handled Makarova in 1 hour, 28 minutes on Day 8, as the Belgian mother tallied three service breaks, compared to only one for the loser from Russia.
The two-time reigning and three-time overall U.S. Open champion Clijsters was the 2004 Aussie Open runner-up to her fellow Belgian Justine Henin.
Clijsters' quarterfinal opponent on Wednesday will be 12th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska.
The 26-year-old Zvonareva needed just 1 hour, 16 minutes to get past Czech veteran Iveta Benesova 6-4, 6-1 at Melbourne Park's Hisense Arena. The Russian star is trying to reach a third straight Grand Slam final, as she was the runner-up at last year's U.S. Open and Wimbledon events.
"There are a lot of people that always underestimated me and...and there are a lot of people that thought I never will make it to even like Grand Slam semifinals or something," Zvonareva said. "But it doesn't really matter to me...the most important thing is that I believe in myself."
Zvonareva's opponent in the quarterfinals will be another Czech, 25th-seeded Petra Kvitova, who rallied past 22nd-seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. Kvitova was a titlist in Brisbane three weeks ago and reached the Wimbledon semifinals last summer.
Also in the fourth round, the Polish Radwanska saved two match points before downing Peng Shuai of China 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 in a back-and-forth battle that took 2 hours, 44 minutes to complete.
The quarterfinals will get underway here on Tuesday, as world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki will take on sixth-seeded French Open champion Francesca Schiavone and ninth-seeded Chinese Li Na will face 30th-seeded German Andrea Petkovic. Li upset Clijsters in a final in Sydney two weeks ago.
The 20-year-old Wozniacki and 30-year-old Schiavone have split four career matchups, while Li and Petkovic will meet for the first time.
Schiavone needed 4 hours, 44 minutes to beat two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova here on Sunday in what was the longest-ever women's Grand Slam match in the Open Era (since 1968).