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Kvitova, Murray Advance to Quarterfinals of Australian Open

Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and men’s No. 4 seed Andy Murray advanced to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Kvitova opened the day eight program of fourth-round matches at the season-opening tennis Grand Slam with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) victory against Ana Ivanovic. Murray followed her onto Rod Laver Arena and was leading Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1, 6-1, 1-0 when his Kazakh opponent retired with a hip injury.

Kvitova, the No. 2 seed from the Czech Republic, struck more than twice as many winners as Ivanovic and held off a second-set fightback from the 21st-seeded Serbian to secure her first victory in their four career meetings.

She’ll next face Sara Errani of Italy or Zheng Jie of China, who are both unseeded.

Murray, who was the runner-up at Melbourne Park the past two years, won the opening two sets against Kukushkin in 44 minutes and took the first game of the third before his opponent quit because of a left hip-flexor muscle injury.

“It’s good that I got to conserve some energy,” the Briton, who will face sixth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Kei Nishikori of Japan in the last eight, said in a televised court-side interview.

Defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia takes on local wild-card entry Lleyton Hewitt tonight at Rod Laver Arena, where five-time winner Serena Williams of the U.S. earlier plays unseeded Russian Ekaterina Makarova. Women’s No. 4 Maria Sharapova of Russia also is in action.

Clijsters’s Comeback

Kim Clijsters saved four match points and overcame an ankle injury yesterday to beat Li Na of China in three sets and keep alive her title defense.

Men’s No. 2 Rafael Nadal of Spain advanced to the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park for the sixth straight year, while third-seeded Roger Federer of Switzerland reached the last eight for the 31st Grand Slam in a row.

Clijsters, the No. 11 seed from Belgium, battled through the fourth-round matchup with French Open champion Li, a repeat of the 2011 women’s final, 4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4. She received treatment after rolling her ankle in the first set and was 2-6 down in the tiebreaker and 3-1 down in the second set.

“I can’t believe I won,” Clijsters said. “I knew before that it was going to be tough but I didn’t expect this. It’s amazing to get through.”

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