Williams beats Sharapova; Djokovic, Federer to meet in semis

Serena Williams extended her winning run over Maria Sharapova to 18 matches with a straight-sets victory in their Australian Open quarter-final.

The six-time champion has won the Australian Open every time she's reached the semifinals and now stands two wins away from equaling Steffi Graf's Open Era record of 22 career Grand Slam titles.

It will be the pair's first meeting at Grand Slam level since the 2012 Wimbledon final, and their ninth overall.

Top-ranked Williams beat Sharapova 6-4, 6-1 in the quarterfinals Tuesday, her 18th consecutive victory and 19th in 21 meetings dating to 2004.

The last time Sharapova beat Williams was in 2004 when she won the Wimbledon title. "Plus, when I play her, I know automatically I have to step up my game". It's motivating because she's at a different level and she makes you go back to the drawing board, not just for me but for many other players.

"Tomas has caused me a lot of problems over the years, but it's been a pleasure playing against him, he's the type of player who makes you better".

Sharapova then escaped a 0-40 deficit to tie the set at 4-4 and had two break points for a 5-4 lead but couldn't convert.

"I feel like if it was five-all, the momentum would have been a little bit different than going into where she played a really great beginning of the second set", Sharapova said.

"On the hindsight, yes, especially that you playing there only against top players, and that give me always more confidence", Radwanska said of her WTA Finals title.

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.

"It's not a stat that's set in stone - I still have to win two matches", Williams said.

Raonic will face No. 23 Gael Monfils, who reached the last eight in Australia for the first time in 11 trips with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) win over Andrei Kuznetsov.

Williams started slowly and was certainly not at her barnstorming best but it is ominous for the rest of the draw that she won with so much to spare. Sharapova finished with three aces and seven double faults on the match, while Serena fired 13 aces and four double faults.

Sharapova has had her own physical issues of late and said she did not expect to compete again until Indian Wells in March in order to nurse the forearm injury that interfered with her plans at the start of the season.

They are the two most risky returners in the sport, but Williams has unleashed her superior serve and speed around the court to punish the former No. 1.

The Swiss 17-time Grand Slam champion will play top seed Novak Djokovic or seventh seed Kei Nishikori in the semi-finals on Thursday.

"I've been playing this whole week aggressively, but I didn't start out playing that way today". "I think longevity is something definitely to look at".

Catch up on all of the action, news and results from the first day of quarterfinals matches at the 2016 Australian Open on Tuesday that you may have missed while you were sleeping.

In the men's category, Roger Federer advanced to his 39th Grand Slam semifinal, beating No. 6-ranked Tomas Berdych 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.

Andy Murray and Jo Konta are both due to play their quarter final matches early on Wednesday morning, against veteran Spaniard David Ferrer and Chinese qualifier Shuai Zhang respectively.

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