Caroline Wozniacki moved into the Australian Open quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Anastasija Sevastova on Sunday and is just one victory from ensuring she'll retain the top ranking.
The 20-year-old Dane, playing her first major as world No. 1, reached the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park for the first time. She can keep her top ranking with an appearance in the semis.
She wants more than that, though. She's aiming for a first Grand Slam title.
Novak Djokovic earned his first major title by winning the 2008 Australian Open, but he hasn't added to his Grand Slam collection since and is desperate to change that in Melbourne. He advanced to the quarterfinals for the 13th time in his last 15 majors with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 win over No. 14 Nicolas Almagro.
Making it difficult for Djokovic to win major No. 2 has been the long domination of No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Roger Federer, the defending champion here.
The questions about Wozniacki's worthiness of the top ranking are starting to diminish. Asked which player she feared most, she said: "I don't fear anyone actually."
"I'm feeling confident. I feel like I can beat anyone on a good day. I think they have to fear me when they're playing me," she said. "I just go out there and do my best. If they're better than me that day, it's just too good."
Wozniacki dropped three of the first four games of the match before reeling off six in a row, including a break in the first game of the second set. Sevastova, ranked No. 46, rallied and the pair traded breaks until Wozniacki regained control.
Wozniacki now has reached the quarterfinals at all four majors, and she's navigated some troublesome ground. According to the WTA, only one of the last five women to be ranked No. 1 went beyond the first round in the first major they played with the top ranking.
Li Na, already China's most successful player, reached the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-3 win over eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
The ninth-seeded Li was one of two Chinese players to reach the semifinals at Melbourne Park last year, her run ending with a loss to eventual champion Serena Williams in two tiebreak sets.
While Wozniacki says she's not scared of any of her fellow players, she did confide that an up-close encounter with a baby kangaroo left her a little scarred.
She saw one of the native marsupials lying in the shade in a park way outside of the city and thought it needed help. She learned her lesson quickly when the wild creature scratched her. Note to Caroline: kangaroos don't hop around all day.
"I just wanted to help it out. I found out that I shouldn't do that," she said. "It scratched me pretty well. That's why I'm playing with this tape on my shin. It looked so cute. But once it started scratching me, I was a coward and I run away."
Nadal kept his bid for a "Rafa Slam" on track and ended Australia's last hope in the tournament, with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 win over 18-year-old wild card Bernard Tomic in the third round.
He extended his Grand Slam winning streak to 24 matches, but said he's not feeling in peak shape. He is feeling the lingering effects of an illness that slowed him at the start of the year.
"I was perfect when I started the season. I was playing perfect and I was feeling perfect physically," Nadal said.