Clijsters puts down marker with Makarova win

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Third seed Kim Clijsters overcame the night chill and a sluggish start to beat Russia's Ekaterina Makarova 7-6 6-2 and march into the Australian Open quarter-finals Monday.

The Belgian, a three-times grand slam champion and Melbourne runner-up in 2004, sealed a tough victory a little after midnight local time with a drilled backhand crosscourt.

Clijsters squandered an early break gifted to her by a nervous Makarova and was forced to a first set tiebreak, which she took 7-3 on a cold night in Melbourne.

The tournament favorite resumed normal service in the second set, finding her range with her heavier groundstrokes to break the Russian twice and set up a meeting with Polish 12th seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

(Reporting by Alastair Himmer; Editing by Martyn Herman)