Women world number one, Serena Williams is on course for her 22nd Singles title at a Grand Slam event after a convincing victory over longtime rival, Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open quarter-finals on Tuesday.
The American defeated the Russian five-time Grand Slam winner 6-4, 6-1, for her 18th consecutive victory, and seventh straight victory in straight sets, to book her place in the semi-finals at the Rod Laver Arena.
“Maria is a super-intense player, Williams said.
“She is an intense and focused player. She was world number one and has won so many Grand Slams for a reason,” said Williams.
“Playing someone like that you have to play with fire and intensity. I’ve been playing all week aggressive but I didn’t start out that way.”
She further dismissed the idea that this might be her 16th and final appearance at the year’s first grand slam, she said: “Hopefully not, unless you know something I don’t”.
Williams then spoke of a different approach to her tennis this year.
“I told myself that I’m here to have fun now. I’ve done everything that I didn’t want to do, you know. I didn’t think I would have done as well as I have,” she told reporters.
“Everything from here on out, every match, is a bonus for me. I don’t have to win this tournament or any other tournament for as long as I live. I really want to enjoy being a professional tennis player and playing on grand slam courts, moments like this.”
Sharapova, seeded fifth this year, never stopped hustling on Tuesday but also never posed a serious threat down the stretch.
“It’s obviously always frustrating, but it’s motivating, Sharapova said.
“It’s tough to sit here 30 minutes after the match and of course talk about the match, But that’s part of my job. 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. She makes you work, and that’s inspiring.”
Williams’s semifinal opponent on Thursday will be No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, from Poland, who defeated Carla Suárez Navarro of Spain, 6-1, 6-3, in the first quarterfinal Tuesday.
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.
The world number three has now improved his record over Berdych to 16-6.
The win makes Federer the oldest man (34 years, 176 days old) since 1979 to reach the Australian Open semifinals.
Federer, who is bidding to win his 5th Australian Open and his first Grand Slam since 2012 Wimbledon, faces the winner of an evening match between No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 7 Kei Nishikori in the semis.