Ruthless Wozniacki to take on Navarro
Melbourne: Ruthless Caroline Wozniacki kicked into full gear on Sunday to storm into the Australian Open quarter-finals where she will pit her wits against experienced Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.
On an overcast and muggy day at Melbourne Park, the world number two turned on the style to take another step towards a maiden Grand Slam title.
The assured Dane, a semi-finalist in 2011 who has never quite lived up to the hype in the majors, annihilated 19th- seeded Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3, 6-0 on Rod Laver Arena in her most impressive performance to date.
"She really mixes up the pace, I just tried to calm down, get my returns in and wait for the opportunities to attack," she said after crushing the Slovak, who made the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year.
"I think you can tell my confidence is pretty good at the moment."
Her easy passage sets up a last eight clash with the gritty Suarez Navarro, who battled back from a set and 4-1 down to shatter the hopes of 32dn seed Anett Kontakion.
The Estonian had been bubbling with confidence after despatching French Open champion Jelena Osteopenia in the third round, but nerves got the better of her.
The Spaniard, who has made the quarter-finals in Melbourne twice before, most recently in 2016, credited her fightback with a conscious decision to be more aggressive.
"I was thinking that I was playing good, but not too aggressive. I want to play like this, but sometimes you cannot," said Suarez Navarro, one of the few who still use a one-handed backhand. "My team all the time they say me, play aggressive, play aggressive. That's I think what I did."
Looking ahead to Wozniacki, she added: "I know how she plays. I know how tough she is. It will be a really interesting match."
Fourth seed Elina Svitolina saw off Czech Denisa Allertova even more quickly, winning 6-3 6-0 in 57 minutes. "I am very pleased with the performance," said Svitolina. "It is not the first time I am going into the tournament as one of the favourites. It adds more pressure, but also gives you extra confidence." She will face Mertens in the quarter-finals.