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Downed Williams vows to be back

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Originally published on: 23/01/12 10:19

It’s quite a remarkable stat that in her 11 previous appearances at the Australian Open, Serena Williams had lost just five matches. Of those defeats, a fourth round exit to Russia’s Elena Likhovtseva, ranked at No.18 in the world at the time, was as bad as it got.

On Monday, another Russian made it a whole lot worse as world No.56 Ekaterina Makarova bullied her way past the 30-year-old American 6-2 6-3 to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final.

“I made 37 errors. That kind of tells the story of the match,” said Williams after her shock exit.

“I honestly think it was on my racket. I hit a lot of errors. I mean, she hit some great shots down the line. But, I mean, every ball that came, I just hit it as far out as I could.”

The writing was on the wall for Williams after the fifth game of the second set, when the former world No.1 double faulted four times in one game before Makarova ran away with the win.

“I’m surprised because she’s a great player and it’s really tough to play against her,” said Makarova when quizzed about the ultimate ease of her victory.

“I [was] just feeling so good and so focussed. I played my game, and that’s it. I won against Serena. That’s amazing.”

Defeat certainly does not mark the beginning of the end for the 13-time Grand Slam champion, who was already looking ahead to her next duel with Makarova on the court.

“I look forward to our next match. I definitely feel like I can play so much better,” said Williams. “And that’s good. Like if I felt like I couldn’t play better, then that would be a problem.

“I’m already thinking already about practicing as soon as tomorrow, you know, trying to figure – I can just think of a hundred things I can do.”

Makarova, meanwhile, has a quarter-final with Maria Sharapova or Sabine Lisicki to look forward to.

“They are great players,” she said. “[But] today I don’t want to think about next match. Just want to enjoy this moment. We’ll see who gonna win. We’ll see what happen.”

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