Aisamul Haq Qureshi and Andrea Hlavackova were ousted from the Australian Open mixed doubles quarter-finals, going down to the Italian duo of Roberta Vinci and Daniele Bracciali 6-1, 7-5.
After being completely outplayed in the first set in just 19 minutes, Aisam and Hlavackova put up more fight in the second, but Vinci and Bracciali eventually prevailed over the seventh-seeded duo.
Earlier, Aisam created history by becoming the first Pakistani to reach the Australian Open last-eight when he and Hlavackova combined to beat Jelena Jankovic and Bernard Tomic.
Meanwhile, India’s Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi beat Leizel Huber and Colin Fleming 7-6, 6-2 to reach the last-four.
Djokovic sets up Murray showdown
Meanwhile, men’s singles defending champion Novak Djokovic set up a repeat of last year’s final with Andy Murray, outlasting David Ferrer to ensure all the ‘big four’ reached the semis.
The world number one was made to work hard, with the first two sets taking well over two hours but Djokovic produced the goods when it mattered, stepping up his game to seal a 6-4, 7-6, 6-1 win.
The Serb admitted that he had been given a tough outing by Ferrer.
“After just a couple of games I knew it was going to be a long match,” said Djokovic. “But there was a big mental advantage to going two sets up and I got more aggressive in the third.”
Murray, on the other hand, moved smoothly into the last-four with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win over Japan’s Kei Nishikori. Murray felt that he had saved his best tennis for the grand slams even though he is yet to win a major.
“It’s good to see that I’ve been playing my best tennis at the slams because that’s something I wanted to make sure I was doing,” he said.
Slam-seeking Kvitova aims for the top
Meanwhile, Petra Kvitova will be eyeing her second grand slam and the world number one ranking when she goes up against Russia’s Maria Sharapova in the semi-finals today.
Kvitova beat Sara Errani 6-4, 6-4 before Sharapova defeated Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova 6-2, 6-3.
Kvitova felt that being a grand slam winner counted for a great deal at this stage of the tournament.
“Winning a grand slam and Wimbledon is special for you,” said Kvitova. “Although you’re under pressure because you’re expected to win all your matches, the experience that I got at Wimbledon is helping me in this tournament.”
Sharapova has also been in solid form as the 24-year-old looks back to being at her best after being troubled by an ankle injury last year. Sharapova conceded she had been outplayed at Wimbledon, and said Kvitova was the player of the moment in Melbourne.
“She’s the one to beat right now, she’s playing the best tennis of her career,” said Sharapova. “I’m looking forward to the match-up. I don’t like losing so many times in a row.”