Serena Williams continued her dominance over Maria Sharapova with an emphatic victory in their Australian Open quarter-final match.
Williams defeated Sharapova 6-4, 6-1 to record her 18th successive win against the Russian.
Sharapova matched the defending champion for much of the first set, but eventually succumbed to her opponent’s power to lose in just over 90 minutes.
She commented: “She’s at a different level. She makes you work. That’s inspiring.”
The American, who now faces Agnieszka Radwanska in the last four, added: “It was super intense. She’s an incredibly intense and focused player who was world number one.”
“When you’re playing someone so great you have to come out with a lot of fire and intensity.”
Radwanska easily progressed to the last four after seeing off Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1, 6-3 in one hour and 22 minutes.
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will meet in the men’s semi-finals after securing straight-set wins in their last eight ties.
Djokovic defeated Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-2 6-4, while Federer beat Tomas Berdych 7-6, 6-2 6-4.
Five-time champion Djokovic produced a polished performance against Nishikori, which was in stark contrast to his error-strewn effort against Gilles Simon in the previous round.
After making 100 unforced errors against Simon, the Serbian took a day off to recharge his batteries and reaped the rewards against the Japanese player.
He said: “I know Kei very well. I lost to him in the US Open. He plays very aggressive tennis and I just needed to weather the storm.”
“I didn’t hit a tennis ball yesterday. It happens sometimes – it’s good to rest your mind and rest your body. Sometimes less is more. It’s a reset button. I played a lot of tennis in the last few weeks.”
Federer was in control for much of the contest against Berdych, serving well against an opponent who has often been a thorn in his side.
“Tomas has caused me a lot of problems over the years, but it’s been a pleasure playing against him,” said Federer.
“He’s the type of player who makes you better.”
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