serena williams beats maria sharapova

Serena maintains hold over Sharapova to reach semi-finals

Reigning champion Serena Williams beats Maria Sharapova 6-4 6-1 to reach the Australian Open semi-finals where she will meet Agnieszka Radwanska who wins 6-1 6-3 against Carla Suarez Navarro.

MELBOURNE, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA (JANUARY 26, 2016) (TENNIS AUSTRALIA) – Reigning champion Serena Williams ramped up the power in the second set to vanquish fifth seed Maria Sharapova for the 18th match in a row and reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open with a 6-4 6-1 victory on Tuesday (January 26).

Sharapova broke the world number one in the first game and mounted a stiff challenge in the opening set but wilted in the second to extend a losing record that goes back 12 years.

Williams said the Russian brings out the best in her.

“I means she is an incredibly intense, focused player who, you know, was number one and has won so many grand slams for a reason so when you’re playing someone like that that’s so great you have to come out with a lot of fire and intensity,” Williams said.

The gulf between Williams and Sharapova, a former number one and five-times grand slam champion, speaks volumes about the balance of power in the women’s game.

Williams has reached the last four at Melbourne Park on six previous occasions and gone on to win the title every time.

On Tuesday’s evidence, it looks like only illness or injury can prevent the 34-year-old from repeating the feat and adding a 22nd major title to her collection.

Williams has an 8-0 record against her semi-final opponent Agnieszka Radwanska, who as the fourth seed is the highest ranked challenger remaining in the draw.

Radwanska advanced to her second Australian Open semi-final after beating Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1 6-3.

The 26-year-old Pole jumped out to a 4-0 lead with two breaks of serve in the first set, and while the Spaniard finally managed to hold in the fifth game, Radwanska broke again on her second set point to seal it in 28 minutes.

Radwanska opened up a 2-0 lead in the second but then neither player held serve for the next three games until 10th seed Suarez Navarro won an 11-minute sixth game to level at 3-3.

Radwanska, who also made the last four in 2014, broke again in the eighth game before serving out for the match.

She will next meet either defending champion Serena Williams or 2008 winner Maria Sharapova, who are up next on Rod Laver Arena.