Venus fireworks illuminate Australia Day

Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:46am EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A scintillating fireworks show that illuminated the cityscape and commemorated Australia Day fittingly capped an explosive performance by Venus Williams and the Stars and Stripes brigade at the Australian Open on Monday.

The fireworks display, which has disrupted play previously at Rod Laver Arena, began minutes after Venus advanced to her first grand slam quarter-final since the 2010 U.S. Open with an upset win over sixth seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

The 34-year-old's victory ensured three American women would be in the last eight of a grand slam for the first time since the 2004 U.S. Open as she joined younger sister Serena and teenager Madison Keys.

Men's top seed Novak Djokovic also moved up a gear to beat Luxembourg's Gilles Muller and next faces Milos Raonic, who became the first Canadian male since Robert Powell in 1912 to reach a third career grand slam quarter-final.

"Not having played Gilles before was tricky coming in," Djokovic said in a courtside interview. "I did find it uncomfortable at times but I found a way through."

U.S. Open finalist Kei Nishikori's quest to become the first Asian male to win a grand slam advanced with a clinical victory over Spanish ninth seed David Ferrer.

"I was feeling a lot of confidence (because) I had nothing to lose so I played almost 100 percent tennis," said the Japanese.

Nishikori will meet defending champion Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals after the Swiss exacted some 2014 French Open revenge with a four-set victory over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.   Continued...

Venus Williams of the U.S. celebrates defeating Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in their women's singles fourth round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 26, 2015.     REUTERS/Issei Kato