(Updates with quotes)
By Julian Linden
SYDNEY Jan 14 Serena Williams saved three match
points and Novak Djokovic revived his stuttering Australian Open
preparations in fierce heat at the Sydney International on
Williams, who also saved four match points in her first
round win over Australia's Samantha Stosur, provided a further
demonstration of her fighting spirit in coming back to beat
Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki 6-7 6-3 7-6 in their quarter-final.
Wozniacki looked poised for a shock win when she broke
Williams to lead 6-5 in the final set but she failed to serve
out, squandering three match points in the process.
"I was a little angry that I was even in that situation
today, because I felt like I probably shouldn't have been in
that situation," Williams told reporters.
"But I was composed. I just felt like I didn't really have
anything to lose too much."
Djokovic rebounded from his shock first-round loss in
Brisbane last week to crush Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-1 6-2
in their second-round match at the Olympic tennis centre.
He played during the hottest part of the day and although he
was not completely satisfied with his performance, he said the
workout was just what he needed heading into Melbourne next week
where he will start the defence of his title.
"It's absolutely normal that you have some ups and downs
during the match and during the tournament, but if you're able
to overcome that then you are a champion," Djokovic said.
Djokovic faces Mario Ancic in Thursday's quarter-finals
after the Croat beat Spain's Tommy Robredo, with the winner to
play either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Jarkko Nieminen of Finland.
Richard Gasquet and qualifier Jeremy Chardy set up an all
French quarter-final while Lleyton Hewitt advanced to a
potentially explosive clash with his Argentine rival David
"(Our rivalry) is not something I'll be focusing on going
into the match tomorrow," Hewitt said.
"For me, it's more a good step to see where I'm at going
into Melbourne. Obviously the big picture is next week."
The scorching heat claimed one casualty when Russia's former
U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova pulled out of her
quarter-final with Ai Sugiyama with a stomach problem but two
other Russians survived.
Olympic champion Elena Dementieva chalked up her eighth
straight win this season, 6-2 5-7 6-4 over Poland's Agniezska
Radwanska, to earn a semi-final with Williams.
World number three Dinara Safina defeated Alize Cornet 6-3
6-4 to set up a meeting with Sugiyama.
(Editing by Sonia Oxley)