Ekaterina Makarova hits a backhand return to fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber during Makarova's fourth-round victory. Makarova beat Serena Williams in the same round last year.


MELBOURNE, Australia - Fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber was ousted in the fourth round of the Australian Open today by the woman who defeated Serena Williams at the same stage last year.

No. 19-seeded Ekaterina Makarova had a 7-5, 6-4 win in the opening match on Rod Laver Arena, taking out the highest seed to tumble so far at the season's first major.

No. 2 seed Maria Sharapova beat Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-0 in a match that ended just before press time.

Makarova beat Williams in the fourth round in 2012 at Melbourne Park and went on to reach the quarterfinals, which remains her best result at a Grand Slam. Kerber and Makarova were two of only four women in 2012 to beat Williams, who lost only one match in the second half of last season as she won titles at Wimbledon, the London Olympics, the U.S. Open and the WTA Championships.

"Seems like it was the same this year and last year. Unbelievable feeling," Makarova said. "I really like to play here. The crowd is so perfect."

Kerber said Makarova was capable going further in the tournament.

"I think if she played very well she can, yeah, beat also top players," Kerber said.

Makarova, 24, will meet Sharapova in the quarterfinals, the same stage they met last year.

In the first men's match today, fourth-seeded David Ferrer had a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 win over No. 16 Kei Nishikori of Japan to reach the quarterfinals, where he could meet fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, the 10th seed.

On Saturday, Roger Federer gave 20-year-old Australian Bernard Tomic an instant reality check - a kind of 'Welcome to my place, Mate.'

"I elected to serve, considering I was serving really well the last few weeks," said Tomic, who had held serve for 76 straight games. "Yeah … that first service game was important. I lost it. Then I was like, 'Oh, no!'"

The last Aussie exited after losing to Federer beating Tomic 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-1 in the third round.

"It's not my favorite part of the job beating up on the hometown heroes," Federer told the crowd at Rod Laver Arena, where he has won four of his 17 Grand Slam titles. "But it's nice that you guys sort of invite me back every year."

Federer earned his 250th win at a Grand Slam event, the milestone sprinkled with some of his classic crisp volleys and trademark one-handed backhands. Federer won the first point of the match with a forehand winner, the first of three in that game, and Tomic won only two points before the Swiss star converted a service break in the first game.

Sloane Stephens beat Laura Robson 7-5, 6-3 in a matchup between the only teenagers left in the women's draw. That set the 19-year-old Stephens on course for a fourth-round match against Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski.

Almost halfway through the season's first major, the only real upset was 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro's 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (3), 3-6, 6-3 loss to Jeremy Chardy on Saturday, meaning only three major winners remained in the draw.

TV today

• When: 1 a.m., ESPN2; 5 p.m. Tennis Channel; 7 p.m. ESPN2; 1:30 a.m. (Mon.), ESPN2