Australian Open 2013 day nine morning session as it happened

Maria Sharapova powers into the Australian Open semi-finals after David Ferrer wins a five-set battle, while Novak Djokovic plays later.

22 January 2013 Last updated at 07:52 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 0743: 

    Rightio, peeps. It has been long, it has been emotional, but it is far from over. Jonathan Overend and David Law are gambolling around Melbourne taking the temperature of the local fanbase on 5 live Sports Extra's tennis breakfast, bringing you all the latest news from around the courts. Coming up fast on the rails is defending champion Novak Djokovic's last-eight clash with Tomas Berdych which you will be able to follow with them or with Chris Bevan on an all-new live text commentary from shortly before 0830 GMT on these very pages. Catch you tomorrow.

  2. 0736: 

    Maria Sharapova, who is the aural spit of American Pie actress Alyson Hannigan with her US tennis camp drawl, also offered the opinion that Ekaterina Makarova was "very excited to play me". Which is nice.

    As you will point out, I'm sure I would be committing social faux pas all over the shop being interviewed in my second language after an hour's hard exercise.

  3.   
    Jeremy Bates, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Sharapova's serve has been rock-solid throughout the tournament. She seems to take a greater amount of time in her routine to pick her spot and is very calm."

  4.  

    Maria Sharapova: "To be honest those stats [of advancing to the semis for the loss of just nine games] are not the ones that you want to be known for. It was difficult today with the match going long, getting warmed up and then finding out that it was still going on."

  5.  
    Makarova 2-6 2-6 Sharapova

    Sharapova dispatches Makarova with little fuss, serving out to come skidding through the finish line in a rapid one hour and six minute. Job done. She will play Li Na in the semi-finals after the Chinese's win over Agnieszka Radwanska earlier today.

  6.  
    GAME, SET AND MATCH

    MARIA SHARAPOVA BEATS EKATERINA MAKAROVA 6-2 6-2 TO MAKE THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN SEMI-FINALS

  7.  
    Makarova 2-6 2-5 Sharapova*

    Makarova takes her fourth game of the match off Sharapova, matching Venus Williams' total in the third round. That may be all she takes away from this though. Sharapova serves for the match next.

  8.  
    *Makarova 2-6 1-5 Sharapova

    Two double faults and a brief uncomfortable stop at 15-30, but there is some grit and resolve under the Sharapova game that means brilliance comes with a the slightly duller, but virtuous side order of consistency. He pings forehands down either wing of Makarova and eventually they just stop coming back over the net.

  9.  
    Makarova 2-6 1-4 Sharapova*

    Makarova's bright start is fading to black. She is broken again as Sharapova keeps up a baseline barrage and is helped to her break by a gimme of an unforced error as Makarova plants into the heart of the net from a decent mid-court platform.

  10.  
    *Makarova 2-6 1-3 Sharapova

    Makarova attempts to give Sharapova a taste of her own medicine as she goes after the world number two's serve with a flattened cross-court return. Unfortunately the Sharapova serve is not as easily tamed and she can not get the required control to avoid slipping to 40-0 and out of contention.

  11.  
    Makarova 2-6 1-2 Sharapova*

    Makarova puts at least a sleeping policeman in the way of the Sharapova steamroller as she produces a gutsy hold to get on the board in the second set.

  12.  
    *Makarova 2-6 0-2 Sharapova

    Sharapova continues to find angles that are not even on Makarova's protractor, never mind in her game. A carved forehand makes it over the net by a hair's breadth, plopping down just inside the lines, before heading off stage right as she holds serve.

  13.  
    Makarova 2-6 0-1 Sharapova*

    A thick net cord at 40-15, gives Makarova too long to think about how she is going to try and tie the game up. An improbable slice forehand floats harmlessly into the net to a frustrated grimace from Makarova. A emphatic cross-court forehand sets up the first break point from deuce, but the Makarova first serve, a far fiercer beast than the second, bares its teeth to scare off Sharapova. Another three break points are also pulled out the fire by Makarova, but on the fifth Sharapova has her on the run as soon after latching onto a second serve. A cutting angled forehand is irretrievable and Sharapova has her fifth successive game.

  14.  
    GAME AND FIRST SET- *Makarova 2-6 Sharapova

    No mercy from Maria Sharapova, who seals the first set with a heavy ace out wide. Thirty-one minutes on the clock and an ominous momentum building behind the world number two.

  15.  
    Makarova 2-5 Sharapova*

    Sharapove pins her compatriot back with precise forehands deep into the apex of baseline and sideline after being allowed to deuce by a Makarova forehand that wafts wide. The second seed's sights are tuned perfectly as she pierces Makarova's defences for a third break. Makarova's second serve is being swarmed all over but she is finding gaps when he lashes out off the ground.

  16.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Tim in Marlow via text: "Re 6.05. Am I the only one who is bemused by all this 'hearty bum slapping' in sport these days? The last time I received a 'hearty bum slap' would have been nearly 40 years ago, from my mother, and probably in connection with the disappearance of a pie from the shelf in the pantry."

    Views on hearty bum slapping, Li Na's chances of a second Grand Slam or David Ferrer's comeback all welcome on 81111 or via Twitter on #bbctennis.

  17.  
    *Makarova 2-4 Sharapova

    You can tell that there is a bit of bite to this one as Sharapova celebrates a serve down the tee that outfoxes Makarova for 15-15 with a clenched fist and little yelp. Two more precise slap-downs bring up 40-15, but Sharapova pushes her luck with a second-serve kicker out wide that is a fraction wide to allow her opponent to 40-30. The touch returns as she sends down an instant winner to move two games clear.

  18.  
    Makarova 2-3 Sharapova*

    It does not last long for the 24-year-old who hands back the break to Sharapova with a double fault. Makarova is getting joy with that double-handed forehand punch down the line though and the Sharapova serve looks far from watertight either.

  19.  
    *Makarova 2-2 Sharapova

    Some clean hitting from Makarova raises 0-30 and a few eyebrows in the Rod Laver Arena. Sharapova looks to have shut down the danger at 40-30 but her second double fault extends the game to deuce. A drilled return from Makarova yorks Sharapova on the baseline. The second seed looks accusingly at the whitewash, but does not bother with a challenge. Break point and Makarova works over Sharapova with some punchy groundstrokes which provide cover for a rush to the net. She completes the break by slipping a winning forehand down a sliver of free court. All square.

  20.  
    Makarova 1-2 Sharapova*

    Sharapova is eyeing up the Makarova second serve like a hungry hawk hovering over a colony of meerkats. She picks off a couple of weak ones to move to 15-40 before Makarova recovers one with a forceful forehand down the line but surrenders the second with a clump into the tape.

  21.  
    *Makarova 1-1 Sharapova

    Sharapova follows suit with a cast-iron serve. A little hiccup with a double fault to allow Makarova to 15-15, but that is all she gives away.

  22.  
    Makarova 1-0 Sharapova*

    Makarova, ranked 19th in the world, is the distinct underdog but a rock-steady hold of serve has put down some foundations. Sharapova has lost just five games in total over the tournament so far, so no mean feat.

  23. 0616: 

    Right, after the all-Spanish epic, attention turns East to an all-Russian last-eight clash in the women's quarter-finals as 2008 champion Maria Sharapova takes on Angelieque Kerber's conqueror Ekaterina Makarova. Sharapova leads 4-0 in the pair's head-to-head.

  24.   
    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

    "Bad memories for Almagro, who missed three match points against Ferrer in Madrid last year. So in a way, this was an improvement. His demise coincided with that of the Williams sisters in the doubles, Venus and Serena falling to top seeds Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani - prompting much celebration near me. The Americans beat the Italian pairing 6-1 6-1 at the Olympics last year."

  25. 0608: 
    BBC coverage

    You can tune into BBC Radio 5 live sports extra now to get your lugholes around the sound of the freshest Grand Slam around. All sorts of fun, games, guests and commentary to liven you up if you feel like Novak Djokovic on the morning after the Wawrinka before.

  26. 0605: 

    David Ferrer: "It was a miracle. Nicolas had a lot of chances to win the match and I tried to fight every point That is my game. I know that players get nervous on the big points because that happens to me to."

    Ferrer plays either Novak Djokovic or Tomas Berdych, who meet in the day's second men's quarter-final around 0830 GMT.

  27.  
    Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 Almagro

    As his final return loops up invitingly for David Ferrer, Nicolas Almagro starts his trudge towards the net for the post-match pleasantries. Ferrer's winner flashes past undeterred to clinch the match. The players share a warm embrace at the net and there is a hearty bum slap for Ferrer as Almagro heads for the dressing rooms and the victor heads for his on-court interview.

  28.  
    GAME, SET AND MATCH

    DAVID FERRER BEATS NICOLAS ALMAGRO 4-6 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 TO MAKE THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN SEMI-FINALS

  29.  
    *Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 5-2 Almagro

    Nicolas Almagro is sunk. It would be a bigger surprise if he came back from this position than it was that Ferrer has survived three games where he had to break to stay in the match. Ferrer works up two break points and takes the second with a perfectly-calibrated lob. He will serve for the match next and Nicolas Almagro looks like he will offer little resistance.

  30.  
    Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 4-2 Almagro *

    A couple of corkers from Nicolas Almagro, but cramp is sinking its fangs into his groin now and he can't shake the blighter off. David Ferrer holds and two more of the same would seal his resurrection.

    Radio 5 live's commentary on this match, or whatever follows, begins at 0600 GMT.

  31.  
    *Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 3-2 Almagro

    Nicolas Almagro's groin is getting into David Ferrer's head. Figuratively of course. Ferrer moves to 0-30, but suddenly Almagro produces three booming groundstrokes to confound the fourth seed. The pick and mix selection continues over Almagro's side of the net as he flops into the net to bring up deuce. Ferrer issues himself with some loud instructions to keep attacking his injured foe and that seems to have done the trick. Almagro strays south into the net on Ferrer 's first break point and is that the break that break the camel's back?

  32.  
    Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 2-2 Almagro *

    Nicolas Almagro watches a David Ferrer love game whistle past him like the Tokyo to Kyoto express. He pokes his tongue into his cheek and it is a strange state of mind he is going to win this one from, should he produce the improbable.

  33.  
    *Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 1-2 Almagro

    There is plenty of Spanish chuntering, a few exasperated wry smiles and shrugs towards his box, but through all the histrionics Nicolas Almagro has held serve again. To wolfwhistles from the crowd he returns to his chair to massage ice into the offending area.

  34.  

    Arya Tabrizi on Twitter: "I'm saying it here and now Ferrer will win his maiden major at this tournament!"

  35.  
    Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 1-1 Almagro *

    David Ferrer holds with ease as Nicolas Almagro thumps the frame of his racquet into the inside of his upper thigh. There is a ready-made excuse there for the underdog and the misfiring part of his brain that seized up as he tried to serve out might just latch onto it.

  36.  
    *Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 0-1 Almagro

    Nicolas Almagro is looking hindered by his groin problem. It might be a bust muscle rather than just cramp. Either way he is looking for the knockout blown as early as possible in each rally. It pays off as he sees off one break point from 30-40 and then another with a searing serve from advantage Ferrer. The tenth seed hobbles over the line as he pulls another crackerjack from his quiver, but it could get away from Almagro very quickly. Ferrer needs to keep stretching him, denying him a solid platform to hit from and that might just be enough.

  37.   
    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

    "To make things worse for Almagro as he ponders another set he shouldn't be playing, not only has he served for the match three times but he's just lost a tie-break against a man with a record akin to England in penalty shoot-outs. That was the first breaker won by Ferrer in Australia since 2004 - he'd lost the last 13 in a row. When it's not your day...."

  38.  
    TIE-BREAK- Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-4) Almagro *

    Almagro flakes to allow Ferrer a 3-1 lead before an absolute fizzer of a backhand takes back the mini-break and ensures he heads into the first change of ends level at 3-3. There is trouble up mill for Almagro though. Cramp has set into his groin and, putting the house on a forehand, he concedes a mini-break on the next point before Ferrer smuggles the next two points past him for 6-3 and three set points. Almagro saves the first, but swipes long on the second. A clench and a scream of delight from Ferrer. Almagro calls for the trainer to work out the lactic. He may well need a counsellor by the end of the match.

  39.  
    *Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 6-6 Almagro

    That final yard is proving so hard. Nicolas Almagro's forehand stiffens ever so slightly and he cuffs long for 15-30. An arrow-like return from Ferrer brings up two break points. Almagro is at the net to blast away a smash for the first, but his head looks out on Hisense as he slaps wide on the next. For a third time in the match he has failed to serve out for victory. Into a tie-break we go.

  40.  
    Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 5-6 Almagro *

    Nicolas Almagro is into the guts of David Ferrer's game immediately, carving his way to 15-40 and two break points once again. A big Ferrer serve and a miscue from Almagro see them vanish in a puff. A stinging Almagro serve and it is a third break point, but again Ferrer sees him off. Almagro's ballistic backhand, forces Ferrer into the net for a fourth, a canny serve to the forehand redeems it for Ferrer. Almagro hits right up onto the baseline and under Ferrer's grill to set up a fifth, again Ferrer bats him away. A cute, knifing forehand finds its mark from Almagro and finally, on the sixth time of asking, Ferrer jabs a forehand wide. Another chance for Almagro to serve out, another trashing for the Ferrer kit-bag as its peeved owner returns to his chair.

  41.  
    *Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 5-5 Almagro

    Nicolas Almagro steams thorugh an over-eager forehand that loops over the baseline to give Ferrer 0-30 and himself some serious problems. A ripper of a serve gives him 15-30, but he dumps a forehand into the mesh to give Ferrer 15-40 and two break points. Agonising for the Almagro camp in the stands. A lashed mid-court forehand saves the first, before an astonishing forehand down the line when he looked six feet under in the rally saves the second. The jitters are back though as a backhand ghosts long after dropping dangerously short on the previous two strokes. Third break point but it is saved with another big serve. Almagro goes for broke as the ball sits up enticingly on the baseline but he has put too much on that welly. Fourth break point. Back and forth they go, neither man wanting to make the error, until Almagro is finally lured onto the rocks with a backhand that feels the unwanted caress of the tape. A disconsolate shrug from Almagro towards his box. If he ends up losing this one, it is going to sting something horrible.

  42.  
    Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 4-5 Almagro*

    A Nicolas Almagro backhand gets to David Ferrer before he is quite ready and Ferrer's choked response brings up 30-30. Almagro fluffs a block return, but then attacks with a full swing off Ferrer's next serve to bring up deuce. Ferrer comes off worse in a baseline joust to offer up break point and then fends tentatively on the backhand to float long. Almagro will serve for the match for a second time and he won't enjoy the changeover time to think a little more on it.

  43.  
    *Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 4-4 Almagro

    Two big serves get Nicolas Almagro off to a smooth start, but he is suddenly in the midst of some serious turbulence as David Ferrer rips a couple of winners, the second a lovely dipping forehand, to bring up a break point. Almagro coolly drops the ball into Ferrer's side of the court, but part two of the plan comes unstuck as Ferrer reads his attempted pass and crabs across the net to put away a backhand volley to clinch the game.

  44.  

    Richard Ottaway on Twitter: "I believe Ferrer now moves to No 4 in the world after Sunday. If Nadal comes back, he'll face some tougher draws in quarter-finals."

  45.  
    Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 3-4 Almagro*

    Nicolas Almagro's turn to twiddle the pressure dial and a clouting backhand brings up 0-30 on Ferrer's serve. Ferrer's serve takes the next, but another backhand whip eludes Ferrer's groping racquet at the back of the court for two break points. Ferrer dumps into the net to fold in the game and his racquet pays for its disobedience with a thorough trashing on the courtside chair. Almagro a break up, will the experience of the last set strengthen or undermine him?

  46.  

    Charlie Shanahan on Twitter: "The real David Ferrer turns up to save it, the real Almagro turns up to give it away."

  47.  
    *Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 3-3 Almagro

    A double fault allows David Ferrer 30-15 and the fourth seed is suddenly seeing the whitewash almost as large as the expanding whites of Nicolas Almagro's spooked eyes. Ferrer sends a forehand whistling down the line for a winner and, after a body serve wins the next point, Almagro is snared by the net to bring up deuce. Creaky, creaky. But Almagro manages to put a couple of points together, Ferrer still not totally on top of his game, to see off the danger.

  48.  
    Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 3-2 Almagro*

    David Ferrer holds to love and you sense he is gathering himself for another tilt at the Nicolas Almagro serve. Time to spread some manure on those seeds of doubt...

  49.  
    *Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 2-2 Almagro

    Nicolas Almagro's game, so secure through two and a half sets, is held together with little more than elastoplast now. He coughs up three break points as he skids to 0-40, and after making heavy weather of regaining the first, missing three smashes before finally putting away his opponent, he pumps long to surrender the advantage.

  50.  
    Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 1-2 Almagro*

    Nicolas Almagro's head is finally clearing after being left reeling by the climax of the third set and David Ferrer, leaving his chin uncovered, is caught by a counter-punch from his compatriot. Ferrer gets the best of a Hawkeye challenge at 15-30 but fluffs a basic groundstroke for two break points. Nicolas Almagro hustles him out of the first and suddenly has his nose in front again.

  51.  
    *Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 1-1 Almagro

    David Ferrer has a chance to turn the screw as Nicolas Almagro looks down and out in a point at 15-30, but he opts to go cross-court, when he had a better sight down the line. Almagro gathers his senses after the reprieve and finally stops the rot.

  52.  
    Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 1-0 Almagro*

    A hold to love from Ferrer and the mojo is back in his strings. Almagro wearing the look of a man walking into his ramsacked house.

  53.  
    GAME AND THIRD SET- *Ferrer 4-6 4-6 7-5 Almagro

    There had been little warning but Nicolas Almagro suddenly crumbles as David Ferrer pumps away with groundstrokes that he looks clueless to deal with. Three break points emerge and even Almagro's attempt to pull back the first is desperate, a forced forehand that crashlands long to surrender the third set. This. Just. Got. Interesting.

  54.  
    Ferrer 4-6 4-6 6-5 Almagro*

    David Ferrer is back out and swinging and suddenly looks like he is relishing a fight that he looked like he had no stomach for a few games ago. He holds with a couple more winners slipped in and Almagro's got something of a thousand-yard stare on. The prospect of a traumatic defeat has been planted somewhere deep back in his psyche.

  55.  
    *Ferrer 4-6 4-6 5-5 Almagro

    A backhand wide as Nicolas Almagro attempts to go down the line at 15-15 and are the nerves demanding he tries to end each point a little too early? Pressure here. Ferrer cranks it up as he shows his compatriot how it is done with a pinpoint forehand down the same line for 15-40 and two break points. A big serve from Almagro takes the first off the table and an enormously gutsy serve-volley redeems the second.

    The pair of them dance around a 20-shot rally, before Almagro puts his foot wrong first and it is a third break point. Almagro, so aggressive for so long in this match, is looking a little cowed as he keeps things safe and central and pays the price as Ferrer takes a deep breath and plunges a winner down the line to break for the first time in the match. Game on?

  56.  
    Ferrer 4-6 4-6 4-5 Almagro*

    David Ferrer holds to love and the spotlight swings round to Nicolas Almagro. On the brink of his first Grand Slam semi. What has he got as he prepares to serve out? Or try to.

  57.  
    *Ferrer 4-6 4-6 3-5 Almagro

    For a moment Nicolas Almagro looks a bit wobbly as Ferrer gets himself set in at 30-30. The fortunate thing for him is that Ferrer has looked wobbly for most of the match. The fourth seed punts a backhand wide to allow the pressure to whizz away like air from a popped balloon before a kicker of a serve completes Almagro's getaway.

  58.  

    David Scott on Twitter: "Almagro is going all guns blazing out here, very much like Wawrinka did against Djokovic, just with more success."

  59.  
    Ferrer 4-6 4-6 3-4 Almagro*

    David Ferrer just cannot find the answer to the equation posed by Nicolas Almagro. He cannot shift his compatriot out of his comfort zone at the baseline and sooner or later in each of the first three rallies, Almagro is able to set himself and power forehands that send Ferrer into a tailspin. 0-40 and three break points. The pattern remains. Ferrer cannot find the dynamite to blow Almagro away and instead is wiped around the court himself. Two service games away from the last four for Almagro.

  60.  
    *Ferrer 4-6 4-6 3-3 Almagro

    The David Ferrer that we all know seems to have been replaced with a very pale imitation. Rallies surrendered with only a token fight, even the belated grunt is muted. Almagro holds with ease.

  61.  
    Ferrer 4-6 4-6 3-2 Almagro*

    David Ferrer holds serve for the loss of a point, but the most interesting thing is Nicolas Almagro asking the umpire at the end of the game for a little reminder as to where he used up one of his Hawkeye challenges. Right service line, he is told. Maybe he'll want someone to check whether he left the gas on back in Spain at the next changeover.

  62.  
    *Ferrer 4-6 4-6 2-2 Almagro

    David Ferrer is a whisker away as he goes cross-court and what could have been 0-30 is 15-15. A wafty forehand heads long to hand Almagro the next point, and the next follows as he pats a back-pedalling, but not impossible, overhead into the foot of the net. Almagro's waspish serve ties up the final point and another game when a top-form Ferrrer might have wheedled out a break goes south.

  63.  
    GAME, SET AND MATCH

    Great news from Court 22 where Britain's Katy Dunne has seen off Katherine Ip of Hong Kong 6-4 6-4 to reach the third round of the junior girls' singles. Katy is back in action later today in the junior doubles, where she is seeded fourth with American partner Christina Makarova. Time to rehydrate, refuel and reapply that factor 50.

  64.  
    Ferrer 4-6 4-6 2-1 Almagro*

    David Ferrer holds courtesy of a couple of mistakes from Nicolas Almagro. Is that the blip that precedes a full flat-lining failure in the underdog's game? I wouldn't bet on it.

  65.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Dom Breslin on Twitter: "Almagro is playing the match of his life. Ferrer looks utterly shellshocked and baffled as to how to stem the tide."

    Ryan on Twitter: "Not sure anyone in top 10 could cope with this Almagro display.... it can't keep happening can it???"

    Send us your thoughts using #bbctennis or via text on 81111 on UK mobiles.

    Don't forget you can also follow this match on the all new singing and dancing BBC app for iPhones and iPod touch devices.

  66. 0343: 
    WEDNESDAY'S SCHEDULE

    The order of play for tomorrow is out. Andy Murray is third on Rod Laver against Jeremy Chardy after Victoria Azarenka against Svetlana Kuznetsova and Serena Williams against fellow American Sloane Stephens. Roger Federer against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is the evening match.

  67.  
    *Ferrer 4-6 4-6 1-1 Almagro

    A chance for David Ferrer as he finds himself with a break point at 30-40. Almagro takes the initiative though with some ballsy hitting that is proving too much and too good for an out-of-sorts Ferrer. Ferrer is not managing to drag his opponent down into the baseline trenches, offering up too many short balls and tempting angles for Almagro to get stuck into. He is heading home unless he can pull a rabbit from somewhere.

  68.  
    Ferrer 4-6 4-6 1-0 Almagro*

    David Ferrer's tucks away his ninth ace of the match as he opens up what he must hope is the start of a long comeback with a hold to love. If anyone is well equipped for a long five-set journey though, then it is Ferrer.

  69.  
    GAME AND SECOND SET- *Ferrer 4-6 4-6 Almagro

    As brutal and clinical as a deranged surgeon. Nicolas Almagro, flaying the fuzz off everything in sight, holds to love to tie up up the second set. If he is going to get the jitters about the possibility of a first win over Ferrer and reaching the last four of a major for the first time in 34 attempts, he is hiding it very, very well. Almagro heads for the bathroom as the players change ends for the start of the third set.

  70. 0332: 

    What else is happening out there? Well, British junior Katy Dunne is going great guns in her second-round girls' singles match against Katherine Ip way out on Court 22. Dunne, seeded 13, took the first set 6-4 and is serving with a 4-2 lead over her Hong Kong opponent in the second.

  71. 0327: 

    The Williams sisters are in action on Margaret Court Arena. The 12th seeds have just started their women's doubles quarter-final against top-seeded Italian duo Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci. Not surprisingly the Americans held serve in the first game.

  72.  
    Ferrer 4-6 4-5 Almagro*

    No alarm bells ringing on David Ferrer's serve as he holds by adding a bit of spice to his tee-off. Ferrer needs something special to derail this runaway Almagro express in the next game though.

  73.  
    *Ferrer 4-6 3-5 Almagro

    David Ferrer's game is still spluttering. An unforced error as he frames wide to hand Almagro a point after moving to 0-30 looks like it might be costly, Almagro overcooks a forehand on on the next point though to ensure that Ferrer will have two break points after all. Both of them are shovelled back into Almagro's bag though with spitting serves that Ferrer can only wave on their way into the sightscreens.

    That centrefold backhand gets another outing as Almagro drills away to muscle Ferrer out of it and he is just a game away from a two-set lead.

  74.  
    Ferrer 4-6 3-4 Almagro*

    David Ferrer holds his own serve to love. Which is all very well but he has not looked like cracking the code to the Nicolas Almagro serve any time recently.

  75.  
    *Ferrer 4-6 2-4 Almagro

    There is something of cyborg killing machine T1000 from Terminator 2 in Nicolas Almagro's face. At the moment he is playing a little bit like that as well. A hold to love consolidates his break. Where is a giant smelting plant when you need it, hey David?

  76.  
    Ferrer 4-6 2-3 Almagro*

    David Ferrer is rootling around in the back of the gun cupboard, but at times he just can't seem to find the necessary attacking hardware to blow Nicolas Almagro once he has the upper hand in the rally. Almagro is allowed to cling on in a rally at 30-15 down and Ferrer pays for his inpotency with as his countryman ups the grunts and oomph to take the point.

    The Ferrer serve looks a little vulnerable from deuce and after he has had game point, he is deceived by a deep return and then clumps wide as he looks to locate the jugular. Break point Almagro and it is converted as Ferrer's block backhand floats long. This is bubbling up ugly for Ferrer rather quickly.

  77.  
    *Ferrer 4-6 2-2 Almagro

    David Ferrer is still not making any indent into the Nicolas Almagro serve. The fourth seed has not quite recovered from Almagro's fierce tee-offs before the ball has been hammered past him with concussive force.

  78.  
    Ferrer 4-6 2-1 Almagro*

    David Ferrer holds to love, staying in one rally with a eye-watering stretching forehand that clawed back an attempted Almagro winner and bought him another life.

  79.  
    *Ferrer 4-6 1-1 Almagro

    Nicolas Almagro's game is still purring away at the opposite end to David Ferrer, his forehand pummeling away to win the game. Ferrer may need to take the fight to Almagro earlier in the rallies if he is to throw a spanner in the spokes. At the moment he cannot rely on Almagro to trip himself up.

  80.  
    Ferrer 4-6 1-0 Almagro*

    David Ferrer rips topspin through his forehands like a Shane Warne getting his fingers around a flipper. A couple of beauties cascade over the net, dipping viciously and accelerating away from Almagro, as he holds serve with ease. That looked a little more promising for the fourth seed.

  81.  
    GAME AND FIRST SET- *Ferrer 4-6 Almagro

    The court-side speed guns are getting a serious work-out on Rod Laver. Nicolas Almagro cranks down a serious of monsters to usher David Ferrer out of the set. The only nibble that Ferrer got was a double fault when his compatriot pushed just little too hard. Ferrer lobs in a ridiculously optimistic challenge on the final point. Hawkeye reveals that the Almagro serve was in six inches either way and the set is gone.

  82.  
    Ferrer 4-5 Almagro*

    Nicolas Almagro, who beat Jerzy Janowicz and Janko Tipsarevic in his last two matches, is buzzing. A corking winner puts a blemish on David Ferrer's service game. Ferrer holds but his opponent is chomping at the bit and will serve for the opener next.

  83.  
    *Ferrer 3-5 Almagro

    No inferiority complex for Nicolas Almagro as he faces his nation's number one. He holds serve with complete authority and David Ferrer is going to have to prise it out of his compatriot's cold hands if he is to get back into this opening set.

  84.  
    Ferrer 3-4 Almagro*

    David Ferrer is the first of the pair to slip off the stratospheric standard set so far as he misses a backhand, punches his strings in frustration, and then drifts long to give Nicolas Almagro 15-40 and two break points. The tenth seed takes his chance with a lassooing flourish as his single-handed backhand beats Ferrer into the corner. That last shot was a photographer's dream, like a matador plunging the final feathery spear-thing into Ferrer.

  85.  
    WHAT A SHOT!- *Ferrer 3-3 Almagro

    A sublimely-steered block return, so deft, from Ferrer brings up 40-30, but Almagro is flattening it off his backhand and summons up an other blunderbus winner to even the opening set up once more. No doubt about it, this is 24-carat second-week tennis.

  86.  
    Ferrer 3-2 Almagro*

    David Ferrer, by contrast, strolls through his service game to love. That side of his game is as tight as a piano string nowadays.

  87.  
    *Ferrer 2-2 Almagro

    David Ferrer has a prod and a probe at the Nicolas Almagro serve as he advances to 30-30. No-one like being prodded anywhere, especially not on their serve, and Almagro chops down a big serve out wide to win the next point. He cannot get rid of his compatriot that easily though as Ferrer wins the next one to join him for some deuce.

    Almagro works over Ferrer, sending him scuttling back and forth on the baseline, before advancing to sweep away the overhead. But the amount of work that he had to do, hitting a series of inch-perfect approach shot to the deuce and advantage courts to keep Ferrer on the move, highlights just what a challenge the number four seed poses.

  88.   
    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

    "A burst of clapping and a few squeals and cheers from one corner of the press room as sixth seed Li Na upsets fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska - the Pole's first defeat in 14 matches this year. Less delight when the media wifi goes down and the people of China are left on tenterhooks. Or not."

  89.  
    Ferrer 2-1 Almagro*

    David Ferrer holds for the loss of just one point, which makes it just two points won against serve in the opening three games. Ferrer has found his range immediately, hitting with a naggingly persistent depth that is cramping up Nicolas Almagro's attempts to tee off from the back of the court.

  90.  
    *Ferrer 1-1 Almagro

    Nicolas Almagro holds his own serve to love and I think that grinding sound you can hear are the opening salvos in a war of attrition. Pack some sandwiches and a thermos, this could be a long one.

  91.  
    Ferrer 1-0 Almagro*

    David Ferrer thumps down two aces in the first two points, but closes the opening game out in more familiar style - absorbing everything that Nicolas Almagro has got and then firing it back at his compatriot with cuter angles and more fizzing spin.

  92. 0214: 

    David Ferrer has never made a Grand Slam final, but this draw, with either Tomas Berdych or Novak Djokovic, presumably still recovering from that marathon win over Stanislas Wawrinka, up next, might tempt him to entertain the possibility of his first. He has Nicolas Almagro to contend with first though... Here we go.

  93. 0211: 

    The head-to-head makes happy reading for David Ferrer. He has won all 12 of the pair's previous meetings, losing just six sets. If Ferrer needs any further encouragement he can look back on the last time that he played a fellow Spaniard in the Australian Open last eight - a straight sets win over Rafael Nadal.

  94. 0206: 

    Next up on Rod Laver court is the first of the men's quarter-finals; David Ferrer against Nicolas Almagro. Ferrer wins the toss and will serve, Almagro is happy with the end he at.

  95. 0202: 

    Li Na credits coach Carlos Rodriguez, who took over the job from Li's husband, with pushing her hard through the winter training in her post-match interview. By the way she closed out that win it looks like he has tuned up the mental side of her game as well. Li will face either Ekaterina Makarova or Maria Sharapova in the last four.

  96.  
    Li 7-5 6-3 Radwanska

    Are there any nerves to cramp Li Na's style as she takes a long look at 0-30? Apparently not, as she creams away a forehand winner to peg one point back. What about at 15-40 and two break points down then? Again, she keeps cool, stiffens the sinews to continue whacking deep and hard to edge Radwanska out of both of the next rallies. The Chinese then rattles off both the next points to seal victory. Icy, icy cool in the Melbourne sun.

  97.  
    GAME, SET AND MATCH

    LI NA BEATS AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA 7-5 6-3 TO MAKE THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN SEMI-FINALS.

  98.  
    *Li 7-5 5-3 Radwanska

    Agnieszka Radwanska digs in her heels to advance to 40-15, but, usually so nimble across the court, she is slow across to a groundstroke to concede the next point. A double fault gives Li Na deuce and a sight of the finish line, but the Chinese can't take advantage.

    Radwanska was forced into some very uncharacteristic serve and volley to clinch the final point. She won't have that option as she attempts to deny Li next though...

  99.  
    Li 7-5 5-2 Radwanska*

    Agnieszka Radwanska is being chewed up and is a game away from being spat out of the Australian Open. The Pole manages to stop a run of nine consecutive points for Li Na, but that is all she can take from the game. Li is finding the middle of the racquet and plumb centre of the lines off both wings and Radwanska is like Canute attempting to turn the tide of winners.

  100.  
    *Li 7-5 4-2 Radwanska

    Li Na is trundling all over Agnieszka Radwanska now and the Pole looks a little crushed as she turns away from a crunched return winner to reflect on losing a break to love. Li set up 0-40 with a glorious running forehand slap volley that sped away cross-court. Tremendous stuff.

  101.  
    Li 7-5 3-2 Radwanska*

    There are a couple of major rickets in amongst all Li Na's industry and venom as she frames a first serve into the stands and then mistimes a regulation backhand. But the sixth seed trains enough fire on Agnieszka Radwanska to force the errors required to give her the lead in the second set for the first time.

  102.  
    *Li 7-5 2-2 Radwanska

    Li Na is the sort of player that Heather Watson could model herself on. Tenacious stuff as she batters away at the Radwanska serve and is rewarded with two break-back points. She punches away a backhand to convert the first and is stalking Radwanska with intent once again.

  103.  

    David Dawber on Twitter: "Radwanska just isn't ambitious enough to warrant becoming a Grand Slam champion."

  104.  
    Li 7-5 1-2 Radwanska*

    She is still a little nervy, one backhand put-away needlessly flirted with the baseline at 30-15 with Radwanska well out of the picture, but Li Na has stopped the rot with a hold of serve. The sun is revving up Down Under, those bits of cumulus rapidly disappearing under its glare.

  105.  

    Humza Ahmed on Twitter: "Still predicting Radwanska to pull this off. Tired of seeing Williams, Sharapova and Azarenka in the latter stages!"

    Stephen Colville via #bbctennis: "Enjoyable first set between two proper players. And no screaming!"

  106.  
    *Li 7-5 0-2 Radwanska

    The next four points also all go the way of Agnieszka Radwanska as she holds to love. She has come out of the blocks firing, having regrouped in the changeover, and Li Na needs to stem this flow otherwise all that hard work in the first may be undone before she knows it.

  107.  
    Li 7-5 0-1 Radwanska*

    Li Na surrenders her serve to love and it may be that the effort of getting over the line in the first, may have taken the winds out of her sails temporarily. The Chinese hit 20 winners to Radwanska's four in the first set by the way.

  108.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Doug Bradley, Glasgow via text: "All praise the tennis gods for providing UK insomniacs with entertainment.......I'd love another 5-setter in the sun with Ferrer & Almagro but I promise myself I will be sound asleep before then....."

    Kerron from Norwich: "When is the last time that the top four seeds in the men's and women's draws all made it through to the semi-finals of a grand slam?? It's still a distinct possibility in Australia."

    Answers on a text to 81111 or on a tweet to #bbctennis.

  109.  
    GAME AND FIRST SET- *Li 7-5 Radwanska

    Agnieszka Radwanska's future in the set seems to hang in the balance as she finds herself in no man's land and Li lines up a baseline forehand at 15-30 up. The Chinese whips wide to allow her off the hook, but it isn't long before Radwanska is back on the chopping block once more. Like a naive poker player, she is blundering into the net when she has nothing in her hand to back up her confidence. The Pole sees off one break point but is eventually stretched beyond breaking point as Li keeps her patience to pin her out wide. First set to Li.

  110.  
    Li 6-5 Radwanska*

    Li Na comes to the net and it is a well-judged raid to the front of the court as she puts away a smash to ensure it is 30-30 rather than the distinctly less appetising 15-40. Agnieszka Radwanska proves that she can duke it out at times, even if she prefers to spend most of her time fighting off the back foot, as she rifles away a forehand of her own to take the game to deuce. The Pole drifts long though to allow Li through and she will have to serve to stay in the set next.

  111.  
    *Li 5-5 Radwanska

    This match is nothing is not predictably unpredictable. Li Na breaks back to love herself and this game of cat and mouse is yet to reach a conclusion. Great big baseline clonks doing the damage for Li, this time with the laser guidance system switched on after a bit of an outage in the last game.

  112.  

    Kayley Jay on Twitter: "I sense an upset in one of these quarters. But which one and will my Possible Upset Alert have recovered from its use yesterday?"

  113.  
    Li 4-5 Radwanska*

    Agnieszka Radwanska suddenly clunks into a higher gear and breaks to love. The Pole is like a wall at the opposite end, returning everything that Li can hurl at her until the Chinese's concentration eventually falters and she plants a backhand wide. The sun has poked through the cloud and may have dazzled Li as she attempted to serve. Never mind. Radwanska to serve for the set next.

  114.  
    WHAT A SHOT!- *Li 4-4 Radwanska

    That is more like it from Radwanska. Impeccable court craft combined with hands so soft that they look like they have never even seen dishwater. The Pole draws Li into the net with a teasing drop-shot and then puts a delicate volleyed lob back across court to win the point and move to 30-15. Calling the momentum in this match is like reading tea leaves. Very difficult indeed.

  115.  
    Li 4-3 Radwanska*

    Li Na becomes the first player to hold since way back in the mists of time in the early part of this 44-minute-old first set. She is looking the women most likely at the moment, unfurling some squeaky-clean forehands to puncture Agnieszka Radwanska's defence.

  116.   
    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

    "A cloudy start to the day will turn into a sunny 25C later, which should suit Spaniards Ferrer and Almagro down to the ground for what could be another Grand Slam marathon this afternoon. The press pack caught up with Goran Ivanisevic yesterday, who is all in favour of fifth set tie-breaks: "It's great for the spectator, it's exciting and it's fun, and you can shorten a match like Djokovic v Wawrinka by at least one hour. Four hours or five hours is a huge difference." He also said quite a lot of stuff which was unprintable but highly entertaining."

  117.  
    *Li 3-3 Radwanska

    Li Na is continuing to make dents in Agnieszka Radwanska's baseline game with her hammering groundstrokes. One forehand swipe sets up a break point and the 30-year-old scampers into the net to send a forehand volley skidding away to convert. That is two apiece to leave us all square on serve. Two prickly temperaments out there, it may all come down to the top two inches in this opening set.

  118.  
    Li 2-3 Radwanska*

    This match see-saws back in Agnieszka Radwanska's favour as she secures the third successive break of serve in the match. Li Na slotted a backhand down the line on the final point. It was a whisker wide and the Chinese made the correct call, after a long, long look at it, by not wasting one of her Hawkeye challenges on it.

  119.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Patrick Warburton on Twitter: "Let's play the anagram game, we each get 1 player from each match. I'll go first, Li Na... "Nail". Your go, Agnieszka.

    Aleks Klosok on Twitter: "Fingers crossed for a Radwanska win tonight! Convinced she can break the Sharapova/Williams/Azarenka triumvirate in women's tennis."

  120. 0044: 

    Western civilisation is saved! Twitter is working again. Send in your thoughts on everything tennis on #bbctennis.

  121.  
    *Li 2-2 Radwanska

    Maybe Li was just storing up the aggression she felt for the line judge and took it out on the yellow fuzzy fella instead. She wallops her way to a break to love, hunting down the lines like a central London traffic warden. Agnieszka Radwanska was a little flat though, not quite the fetcher supreme that she can be though.

  122.  
    Li 1-2 Radwanska*

    Li Na looks more than a little peeved when a foot fault is called against her as she defends a break point from deuce. Not the full Serena Williams at the US Open by a long way though. The Chinese sees that one off via an uncharacteristic duffed backhand from Agnieszka Radwanska, but flaps one of her own into the net shortly after to had the fourth seed an early break of serve.

  123.  
    * Li 1-1 Radwanska

    Agnieszka Radwanska holds from deuce, Li Na gifting her the final point as she reaches a dribbly drop-shot with ease but thrashes her attempt at a winner into the net.

    One game all out on Rod Laver and 18 minutes on the clock. This could be a mammoth, lactic-filled slug-fest.

  124. 0027: 

    A quick parish notice. If you are sending in text messages on 81111 from UK mobiles please include your name, otherwise they head straight for the virtual wastebin. Thanks.

  125.  
    Li 1-0 Radwanska *

    Agnieszka Radwanska trails Li Na with four wins to the Chinese 30-year-old's five in their previous, but the Pole has come into this tournament on some sizzling form. She has won 13 straight matches, all in straight sets, as she collected titles in Auckland and Sydney before progressing to the last eight.

    She has certainly made Li work hard to win the opening game of their encounter. Twelve minutes on the clock and a break point saved as the 2011 French Open champion finally wrestles Radwanska out of it.

    *- denotes next to serve

  126. 0017: 

    We usually love to have your thoughts on Twitter as well, but it seems to be suffering a bit of a technical fault. We'll tip you the wink when it is working for us.

  127. 0015: 
    GET INVOLVED

    Hope that you are ready to fire some pithy thoughts on today's action down the text line from your UK mobile.

    81111 is the number and how about opening up with your thoughts on whether Agniezka Radwanska can barge her way in front of Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams to claim her first Grand Slam title here?

  128. 0011: 

    Which gives me just enough time to outline what else is on the menu today. Once Li and Radwanska are done, it is the first of the men's last-eight meetings between David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro, an all Spanish affair, before the Russian second seed Maria Sharapova meets her compatriot Ekaterina Makarova.

    Novak Djokovic plays Tomas Berdych in the evening session and will be pleased for the extra rest after his marathon win over Stanislas Wawrinka last time out.

    Right, trackie tops are being peeled off. We are ready to go on Rod Laver.

  129. 0006: 

    Over the next couple of days eight will become four in the men's and women's draw. First to be chopped from contention, will be one of Li Na or Agnieszka Radwanska. The pair of them have just emerged from the bowels of the Rod Laver into the bright Melbourne sunlight. Li calls the toss correctly and will serve. There is a bit of knocking up to do first though...

  130. 0000: 

    Grand Slams are a bit like an summer holiday with your well-meaning parents. The first week might be all fun and games, but come the mid-point of the fortnight, things start to get a little testing.

    Welcome to Tuesday, the ninth day of the Australian Open and the first day of the quarter-finals.

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Australian Open: 14-27 January

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