Williams routs Sharapova in Australian Open quarters

When the draw came out before the tournament, everyone wondered if No. 5 Maria Sharapova would land in No. 1 Serena Williams's quarter due to her rankings drop.

World number one Serena Williams extended her remarkable winning streak against Russia's Maria Sharapova to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open as she seeks to defend her title in Melbourne.

Of Williams' 21 grand slams, six of them have come at the Australian Open as she prepares to meet Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the final four.

Djokovic's mark is nearly as good - he's 5-0 in semifinals, and in finals, in the season's first major.

In what was the pair's 21st meeting on the tour, Sharapova took an early 2-0 lead in the match, but was unable to consolidate; the world No. 1 battled strongly to regain parity and then run away with a hard-fought, hour-long first set.

The 34-year-old American, who twice had treatment during breaks in the rematch of last year's final, has reached the last four at Melbourne Park on six previous occasions and gone on to win the title every time.

"She won through her qualities, her competitiveness, with her confidence, serve, but the level of play wasn't fabulous". "Playing someone like that you have to play with fire and intensity".

Looking to tie Steffi Graf's record of 22 Grand Slam titles, Williams is also after a seventh Australian Open title.

With Sharapova again swatted aside, the world No. 1 now has the composed Pole in her sights. Williams had 13 aces, hit 31 winners to 11, and broke Sharapova's serve four times.

Williams said she had "no idea" whether she went on court against Sharapova with a mental edge but added: "There's something about her game". That works against most players, but against Williams it plays into Serena's strengths.

But will Sharapova ever end her skid against Williams?

Williams woke up, however, and sent Sharapova into a temporary tailspin with a crushing return in the fourth game, later breaking for 2-2. I know very well how good he plays, especially in the later stages of a major event.

Nishikori lost his third straight service game as the top seed powered to victory on his third match point with a lightning backhand victor. She held off two break points at 4-all, then served out the set.

Sharapova has not beaten Williams since back-to-back victories in 2004, when she led their rivalry 2-1.

"It was super intense, she's an incredibly intense, focused player, she's won so many grand slams for a reason", Williams said. The huge challenge for Federer is to be able to get the better of Djokovic, who is so relentless both physically and mentally, over the course of five sets. Radwanska broke Suarez-Navarro three times in a 28-minute opening frame.

Federer and Djokovic have played 44 times with the wins split equally between them, although the Serbian won their meetings in finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open a year ago.

"Tomas has caused me a lot of problems over the years", said Federer, who improved to 16-6 against Berdych.

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