Australian Open: Serena beats Sharapova, cruises into semifinals

Serena defeated Sharapova 6-4, 6-1 in their quarterfinals match on Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday, marking the 18th-straight time the American and World No. 1 has prevailed over her Russian rival.

Serena Williams bt Maria Sharapova 6-4 6-1 - You will have to excuse Sharapova if she doesn't want to see Williams any time soon, but that has been said for some time.

French Open champion Wawrinka was the only man to beat top-ranked Novak Djokovic in a Grand Slam match a year ago - the final at Roland Garros - and the last man to beat him at Melbourne Park after 2010.

Early on Tuesday it seemed Sharapova might challenge Williams: She broke Williams's serve to open the match and held serve for a 2-0 lead before Williams won the next three games.

Williams moved into the semifinals with a 6-4 6-1 win over Sharapova on Australia Day and given she is similarly dominant against her next foe, Agnieszka Radwanska, there's little to suggest her tournament will come to an end Thursday.

Radwanska, who is from Poland, has never won a major title.

Radwanska has now made the semifinals or better at a Slam the last five years and is coming off a win at the WTA Finals in 2015 and at the Shenzhen Open at the beginning of this season.

Sharapova served 21 aces in her last match. Against Williams, she had three, with seven double-faults.

Sharapova broke to open the match and had a 2-0 lead. Williams won that game, then the set, then the first five games of the second set.

From there, Williams protected her own serve - even as a baby wailed in the stands in the ninth game as she faced breakpoints - and took high-risk options with her service returns to unsettle Sharapova. The aggressive returns finally helped Williams convert on her fourth set point, following a heavy ground stroke to the net and putting away a volley.

"She is very solid, like most Spanish players and I knew everything would come back to my side".

Williams will now face fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, who was the first player to enter the semis.

Thus, this year's Australian Open will produce a fourth consecutive surprise semi-finalist after Sloane Stephens (2013), Eugenie Bouchard (2014) and Madison Keys (last year).

"I have nothing to lose and it does not matter who I play".

"She played quite explosive", Sharapova said.

And so, as the tournament draws to its conclusion for another year, it seems the only thing that can prevent Serena Williams from claiming a seventh Australian Open title is complacency. "Plus, when I play her, I know automatically I have to step up my game", she said.

She said: "I'm going to go and take care of my forearm first".

Federer beat sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-4.

"I think I played well overall", he said. "Certainly I was trying to just concentrate on the match when I was out there, but, like I said, it's been a hard, hard few days".

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