Serena wallops Sharapova to reach semis at Aussie Open

Williams triumphed 6-4 6-1 in the Australian Open quarterfinals on Tuesday; a match that was harder fought than the scoreline suggests but still maintained her dominance in the most high-profile and most one-sided rivalry in women's tennis.

"It was super intense", said Williams, according to the BBC.

Williams has lost just three sets in her past 17 matches with Sharapova and leads the Russian 7-1 at Grand Slams.

The five-time grand slam victor fended off three consecutive break points at 3-4, prompting Sharapova to roar "come on" and her coach, Sven Groeneveld, to leap out of his chair in the players' box at Rod Laver Arena. Third-seeded Roger Federer of Switzerland beat sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, 7-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Federer is bidding to win his 5th Australian Open and his first Grand Slam since 2012 Wimbledon.

At 34 years 176 days, he is the oldest man since 1979 to reach the Australian Open semifinals.

Williams has won every semifinal she's contested at Melbourne Park, and gone on to win the title each time.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will face Roger Federer in a blockbuster semi-final clash at the Australian Open after dismissing Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 on Tuesday night in Melbourne. Sharapova served 21 aces in her last match.

Having beaten Maria Sharapova for an 18th time in a row, Serena Williams has again moved to within two victories of matching the Open-Era record of 22 Grand Slam titles.

"I think if you're serving maybe 180 against somebody else compared to Serena, that's an ace", Sharapova said. It proved to be vital as she came through a titanic 10th game with a volley on her fourth set point, finally winning the set after a brutal 55 minutes.

When she needed it most, however, facing four set points in the crucial 10th game of the match, her serve failed her and she ceded the opening stanza 6-4.

What it means: Djokovic and Federer will do battle for a 45th time in their careers when they meet in the semifinals, the head-to-head standing at 22 wins apiece.

"She presents a completely different game, an extremely exciting game. I'm very happy I was able to play this way". "It's not a stat that's set in stone-I still have to win two matches".

It was the American's 18th straight win against the Russian.

A similar player-Roberta Vinci-ended Williams' run at the 2015 US Open last summer with the calendar Grand Slam on the line.

"I tried to weather the storm, hang in there", said Djokovic, who had been pushed to five sets by Gilles Simon in the fourth round. "I felt like, 'All right, I didn't make those shots, but if I had made those shots, I probably would have won that game.' I just clung on to that and knew I could play better".

"She's a great defender and a great girl, and regardless who gets to the final, it will be a good thing", Williams said on court. "Yeah, I just started slow", Williams said. I think that's really important.

"I'm playing good tennis, fun tennis for me anyway". You know, she (Sharapova) always brings in something new and something special.

"But I don't think there's too big of a difference physically".

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