2014/11/01

Australian Open Doubles Update Day 10

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By Jaclyn Stacey

 

( January 23, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – While the men’s and women’s singles quarterfinals have enthralled viewers of the Australian Open on day ten, on the outdoor courts the men’s, women’s and mixed doubles have been heading to the pointy end of their respective tournaments.

 

The number one seeded women’s doubles pairing of Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci won in straight sets over the fourth seeded Russian pairing of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 6-2 6-4 and progressed through to the final to be held on Friday afternoon.

 

The top seeds will face the unseeded Aussie duo of Casey Dellacqua and 16-year-old Ashleigh Barty in the final after they defeated the pairing of Varvara Lepchenko and Saisai Zheng 6-2 6-4 late on Wednesday night. The Australians have been a surprise package at the tournament so far and have received great support from the local crowds.

 

The men’s doubles competed at the quarterfinal stage of the draw on Wednesday with top seeds Mike and Bob Bryan advancing to the semifinals with a straight sets over Daniele Bracciali and Lukas Dlouhy. They will play the Italian pairing of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini for a place in the final.

 

Third seeded Spaniards Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez defeated the unseeded pairing of Tomaz Bellucci and Benoit Paire 6-3 6-1 and will play the dutch duo of Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling in the semifinals after the pair defeated Spaniards David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco in a tough two sets.

 

In the mixed doubles competition Kveta Peschke and Marcin Matkowski defeated Su-Wei Hsieh and Rohan Bopanna to progress through to the semifinals and will play the winner of the quarterfinal between Sania Mirza/Bob Bryan and Lucie Hradecka/Frantisek Cermak.

 

Yaroslava Shvedova and Denis Istomin also advanced to the semifinals and they will meet the winner of the match between fifth seeds Nadia Petrova/Mahesh Bhupathi and Australians Jarmila Gajdosova/Matt Ebden.

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Murray Races Through to Australian Open Semifinal

 

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By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 23, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia - Andy Murray raced into the semifinals of the Australian Open, crushing hard hitting Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in one hour and 51 minutes.

 

The win was a comprehensive victory for Murray as he heads into his fourth consecutive Australian Open semifinal. It wasn’t flawless however as Murray lead easily in each set but allowed the Frenchman to break him once in both the first and third set.

 

The Olympic Gold Medallist didn’t allow Chardy to play the game he’d been using to win through to the quarterfinal stage of the tournament, shutting down his attempts to reel Murray into the net and slam a big forehand past him.

 

Murray came into the contest the freshest player in the quarterfinal lineup having spent only seven hours and five minutes on court during his first four matches whereas Chardy had spent 11 hours and 40 minutes in total on court. Murray continued to field questions he won’t be ready for a big challenge against someone like Federer in the semifinals or Djokovic in the final having played such little tennis against lower ranked opponents in the tournament so far.

 

“I haven’t lost a set here yet. So, you know, maybe I’m expecting to play too well or whatever. But I’ve done a good job so far in this tournament.”

 

“But, you know, who knows. I played a lot of tennis in December. I had some good matches in Brisbane. So, I mean, I can’t be disappointed about being in the semis of a slam without dropping a set. That would be silly.”

 

There has been some criticism of the scheduling at the Open this year with world No. 3 Murray not playing one night match during the fortnight leading into the semifinals. His likely opponent Federer has played all bar one of his matches under the lights on Rod Laver Arena. Murray will practice under the lights on Hisense arena on Wednesday and Thursday night to adjust to the night match setting.

 

“It’s purely for the lights, yeah. I mean, I played in Brisbane a couple of matches in the evening, but it’s slightly different there, as well, because there’s a roof too. That’s why I’ll go out there. I’ll hit under the lights tonight and do the same tomorrow.”

 

“If I was the tournament director or the referee or whoever decides the schedule, I also would have put Federer against Tsonga on as the night match tonight because it’s the best match of the day.”

 

Murray has the chance to become the only first-time Grand Slam winner to immediately claim a second major at the next opportunity after he won his first Grand Slam at the US Open in September last year.

 

 

Murray will play the winner of the match between Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semifinals on Friday night. Murray holds a head-to-head lead over Federer 10-9 and Tsonga 7-1 so will take some confidence into the match.

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Serena Williams Slayed by Rising Star Stephens in Australian Open Quarterfinals

SloaneStephens

By Jaclyn Stacey

 

(January 23, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – 19-year-old Sloane Stephens shocked the tennis world on Wednesday at the Australian Open, defeating 15-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 and progressing into her first career Grand Slam semifinal.

 

“Today I just really didn’t have anything to lose, “ Stephens said. “I mean, you’re playing for the semis of a Grand Slam. You just got to go out and do it really.”

 

Williams’ 18 years of experience as a pro shone through in the opening set and a half as she got herself ahead of the younger American claiming the first set 6-3 and leading a break in the beginning of the second set.

 

Being down 0-2 in the second set Stephens picked up her game and really took it to her mentor.

 

“I think I was convinced that I was able to do it when I lost serve in the first game in the second set and I went down 2-0.  And I was like, Hmm, this is not the way you want it to happen. But you just fight and just get every ball back, run every ball down, and just get a lot of balls in play, I think you’ll be okay.”

 

“From then on I got aggressive, started coming to the net more, and just got a lot more comfortable. I just kind of just kind of played my game from there, I think.”

 

Stephens got a break on Williams and attempted to serve out the set leading 5-3. At the same time her opponent down the other end was moving around the court in pain from a back spasm.

 

Williams explained the moment she felt the injury take place.

 

“Well, I was running to the net for a dropshot. As I went to hit it, it was on the backhand. I even screamed on the court. I was like, Ahh. I totally locked up after that. It was just like — it was a little painful.”

 

The five-time Australian Open champion managed to ignore the pain and break Stephens back by taking advantage of the nerves of the young American who double-faulted to go break-point down during the game. Williams held for 5-all but was again broken by Stephens in the next game as she struggled to serve without pain. Stephens then capitalized on her second opportunity to serve out the set 7-5 and took the match into a decider.

 

Williams left the court for medical treatment on her back at the break and came back serving balls at just 89mph, a whopping 39.7mph slower than her fastest recorded speed at the tournament of 128.7mph.

 

“Yeah, I mean, she was serving at lower speeds, but her serve, she hits spots. No matter how slow it’s going, it’s right on the line. It’s still a really good serve even though it’s much slower,” Stephens said of the slowed down balls coming her way.

 

The women held serve to start a very tense third set, both women hitting with impressive power and putting their all into the fight.

 

At the first change of ends a frustrated Williams smashed her racquet into the ground but remained quiet. The last two weeks had been tough on her body as she battled through an ankle injury in her first round match and then the back injury.

 

Williams got a break in the seventh game of the final set to take a 4-3 lead but was immediately broken back by Stephens to level at 4-4. From there she held and broke Williams again to claim her space in the semifinals.

 

It was a momentous win for the young American who defeated her childhood hero on tennis’ biggest stage at a Grand Slam. When asked about the poster of Williams she kept on her wall as a child she said through tears, “This is so crazy but – oh my goodness – I think I want a poster of myself now.”

 

Stephens plays world number one and defending champion Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals and says she will give it her all.

 

“Gonna be a totally different match. I’m just going to go out and play my best, obviously. Do what I do really well and just play my game. Just hopefully, you know, play well again.”

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Azarenka Continues Title Defense, Advances to Semifinals at Australian Open

Victoria Azarenka

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 23, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – World No. 1  Victoria Azarenka kept her title defense on track on Wednesday at Melbourne Park, progressing to the semifinals of the Australian Open with a 7-5 6-1 win over Svetlana Kuznetsova.

 

It was an enthralling encounter between the world No. 1 and the two-time grand slam champion as they went toe for toe in the 77 minute opening set. Kuznetsova got her nose in front early to lead 4-1 before Azarenka charged back and was able to break Kuznetsova on set point to go up one set 7-5.

 

The second set began with the women swapping breaks in the first three games before Azarenka got a stranglehold in the fourth game by consolidating the second break to lead 3-1. From there she made very few unforced errors and raced to victory 7-5 6-1.

 

“I feel like at the beginning it was a little bit like play around, you know, a lot of back and forth. I think we were both producing, you know, good tennis, but I felt like she was a little bit on top of me on the important moments. I didn’t really take advantage of that, and she really did. So I felt like that was the main thing that she got that lead.”

 

“Then I turned it around and I took control in my hands and it was more up to me. That’s what I felt like was a turning point mentally and physically, you know, and everything else there.”

 

The match today was a good test for the world No. 1 heading into the semifinals.

 

“Yeah, I think you cannot expect to have your best tennis on every single point, on every single game. But it’s important to know that when you need it, it’s there and you can rely on that. That’s what gives you, you know, confidence. That’s what keeps you fighting all the time, that you just have to try and try and try. “

 

Azarenka progresses through to the semifinals where she will play Sloane Stephens who upset Serena Williams.

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Djokovic Fighting Fit With Win Over Berdych in Quarterfinals

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By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 22, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia - Novak Djokovic progressed through to the Australian Open semifinals after winning his quarterfinal match against fifth seed Tomas Berdych 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in two hours and 31 minutes on Tuesday night.

 

Djokovic is guaranteed to retain his No. 1 ranking at the end of the tournament after advancing to the semifinals. Had he lost on Tuesday, Roger Federer would have had the opportunity to regain the No. 1 ranking if he had gone on to win the title.

 

Djokovic played with a lot more rhythm than he did against Stanislas Wawrinka in the epic five set encounter on Sunday night, hitting the ball cleaner and playing consistently aggressive. He smothered Berdych’s big serve, taking the initiative and shutting down the balls quickly.

 

It was clear Djokovic wanted to get the match over and done with in rapid fashion so as to avoid a repeat of his last round. He raced to a 6-1 first set in 28 minutes as Berdych struggled to make any impact, double faulting on set point down to gift the defending champion the set.

 

The Czech came back in the second set breaking Djokovic in the first game and served the set out 6-4 in 54 minutes despite some resistance from the world number one in his final service game.

 

In the third set Djokovic put the foot down and began whipping forehand winners past his opponent and lead 5-0 before Berdych got his first game on the board for 1-5. The world number one then closed out the set 6-1 to get his nose ahead in the match two sets to one.

 

Djokovic got the early break in the fourth set and went on to close out the match 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to move into the semifinals and continue his quest for a third consecutive Australian Open title.

 

“I felt good enough to go another five hours. But I definitely wasn’t thinking about it. I tried to get the work done as fast and efficient as possible. I was very happy with the way I started the match. Very aggressive out there, going for my shots, which wasn’t the case against Wawrinka.    So it’s a good improvement and very encouraging for next match.”

 

Djokovic plays fourth seed David Ferrer in the semifinals on Thursday and leads their head-to-head record 9-5. Djokovic was asked what he needs to do to defeat the Spaniard.

 

“Well, I need to be aggressive on the court, that’s for sure. I need to step in and try to be in control of the match, otherwise he makes his own rhythm, he makes his own pace on the court. That’s where he’s very dangerous. He’s a great competitor. He’s somebody that has a lot of respect from all the players because he’s playing so many tournaments and works very, very hard.”

 

“You can see because he’s basically in his 30s one of the fittest players around and is playing the best tennis of his life in the last 15 months. It’s the semis of a Grand Slam, so I expect a tough match.”

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

 

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Sharapova Continues Stunning Form to Reach Semifinals in Melbourne

 

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By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 22, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Maria Sharapova stormed into the semifinals of the Australian Open after crushing fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-2, 6-2 in 66 minutes.

 

Sharapova didn’t manage any bageled sets in the match but was still very impressive and completely dominated her opponent. She has dropped just 9 games for the duration of the tournament.

 

“I thought today was going to be a really good test. She’s beaten quality players over the course of last week, and I know that she’s capable of playing really good, you know, with deep hitting. Also a lefty, which is a bit tricky. So, yeah, I thought I handled that pretty good and was able to keep my focus all the way through the match.”

 

Sharapova hit 22 winners and won 83% of her first serves in play on her way to the quick victory.

 

She will meet Li Na in the semifinals and leads their head-to-head 8-4.

 

“Yeah, I mean, I’ve beaten her the last few times that we’ve played, but they’ve always been really good matches, really tough matches. I certainly expect it in the next one.”

 

“She’s had a great start to the year and playing really well. She was, you know, the most-improved player towards the end of last year as well, so that will be hopefully a high-quality semi.”

 

Sharapova has yet to be troubled during the tournament and was asked if it worries her knowing she hasn’t had to surpass any big challenges going into the semifinal.

 

“Well, going into the match, my goal is not really to be tested. I don’t know how else to put it. If I do come into a situation where I feel like I have to pull through or I’m not playing my best tennis or she’s up and I have to find a way to win, then that’s what you have on that given day.”

 

“Do I want to be in that position? Absolutely not.”

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

 

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Ferrer Digs Deep to Overcome Almagro

 

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By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 22, 2013) David Ferrer fought back from two sets to love down to overcome compatriot Nicolas Almagro in five sets 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(4,) 6-3 and progress through to his second Australian Open semifinal.

 

Ferrer is just the second Spaniard behind Rafael Nadal to reach multiple semifinals at the Australian Open and the third Spaniard to reach five or more Grand Slam semifinals in the Open Era. The win also signaled his 500th career win.

 

The first two and a half sets were dominated by the tenth seeded Almagro as he shocked the crowd by taking an aggressive two sets to love lead 6-4, 6-4 by serving powerfully and smashing winners from all over the court.

 

He continued the form into the third set as he broke Ferrer with the set level at 3-3 and had a chance to serve out the match at 5-4. Ferrer dug deep however and created three break point opportunities with Almagro serving for the match, the first saved with an ace and the second with a forehand volley winner for deuce. On his third opportunity Ferrer hit a superb forehand winner to break back and level the match at 5-5. With Almagro rattled, Ferrer won his next service game and broke Almagro in the next game to love to win the set 7-5.

 

The Spaniards traded breaks throughout the fourth set and with his nose ahead at 5-4 Almagro had another opportunity to close out the match. He squandered the game again to allow Ferrer back in the set at 5-5. By this stage his failure to serve out the match on two occasions appeared to play heavily on Almagro’s mind. He had a third opportunity to serve out the match after breaking Ferrer for 6-5 but again failed to do so and sent the set to a tie-break. Ferrer got ahead in the tie-break and won the set 7-6(4) to level at 2 sets all and sent the match to a decider.

 

In the fifth set Almagro began to struggle physically and had issues with his abductor while Ferrer was running on momentum and had full control on the match. He got the first break in the fifth game and a second in the seventh game and served out the match with a forehand winner.

 

Ferrer increased his head-to-head lead over Almagro to 13-0. He was asked what was going through his mind when he was down two sets and a break with Almagro serving for the match.

 

“I try to fight every point, every game. I know all the players in important moments we are nervous. I know that. I try to do my best. Today I was close to lost, sure. But finally I come back, no?”

 

“I think he played better than me in the first set. There was a break. I play bad in myself in one break. In the second, I didn’t play good, no? In the third, I feel better with my game. I can play more aggressive.”

 

“And in the fifth, he was cramping, problems with his leg, so it was easier for me.”

 

On a potential semifinal clash with  Novak Djokovic, should he defeat Tomas Berdych on Tuesday night, Ferrer said, “Amazing player. Of course, Novak, he’s the No. 1 of the world. He’s the favorite for to win the Australian Open. I will see the match tonight. Anyway, I will have to play better than today for to win after tomorrow, sure.”

 

“You know, every day is different: the weather, the conditions, everything is different. I don’t know what is going to be tonight with Tomas Berdych, but I hope it will be a long match, no (smiling)?”

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

 

 

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Li Na Reaches Australian Open Semifinal After Defeating Radwanska

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By Jaclyn Stacey

 

(January 22, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia - Li Na became the first player through to the Australian Open semifinals on Tuesday at Melbourne Park after she overcame fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska 7-5, 6-3.

 

The first set was a grueling 66 minute encounter in which the women exchanged seven breaks of serve between them. Li claimed the seventh break on set point to lead the encounter 7-5.

 

Li immediately went down a break in the second and Radwanska consolidated with a love game to lead 2-0. She fought back however, winning the next 5 games to lead 5-2 and closed out the match 7-5 6-3.

 

Prior to the match Radwanska had won 13 straight matches to start her 2013 season, including a straight sets win over Li in the semifinals of Sydney. Losing the first set of her quarterfinal seemed to rattle Radwanska and she was unable to stay in the first in the second set.

 

With the win Li returns to the top five in the WTA rankings. Her highest ranking has been a number four.

 

Li said it was a difficult match against a difficult opponent.

 

“You know, she’s a tough player. I was feeling today against a wall, you know. She can hit everywhere, but without a mistake. I was feeling just very tough. You have to focus on every shot. Not every point, every shot. If you hit like slow or like short one, she’ll attack.”

 

Li spoke about her tough off season training schedule with Justine Henin’s former coach Carlos Rodriguez who she has been working with since after Wimbledon last year.

 

“I was with Carlos for two and a half or three weeks in Beijing.  Totally different program, you know.”

 

“He was not – how you say – like every day five, six hours, but not only for tennis. Tennis like maybe two, three hours, but fitness for two, three hours as well.”

 

“So, like, when first time I was training with him I was so exciting, but after three days I was dying. Yeah, because my husband didn’t come with me in Beijing. I call him and say, Carlos is crazy. He was like, Why? I was say the program to him. He was like, Don’t make the joke. I say, Hey, listen, I’m not joke. I really doing this in the morning.”

 

On a potential semifinal clash with Maria Sharapova on Thursday Li said “She’s more aggressive player on the court. Also she’s tough. She’s fighting a lot. Should be tough match. So we can see Thursday, yeah.”

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Flawless Federer into 35th Consecutive Australian Open Quarterfinal

2013 Australian Open - Day 8

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 21, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, AustraliaRoger Federer won through to his 35th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal after dismissing young Canadian Milos Raonic in straight sets 6-4 7-6(4) 6-2 in 1 hour and 53 minutes on Monday night at the Australian Open.

 

The match was classic flawless Federer in truckloads, Raonic not even able to pierce the maestro with his big serve as Federer managed to get an impressive 60% of returns back into play and made only 12 unforced errors. Federer did not face one single break point on his serve for the duration of the match.

 

Federer won the first set 6-4 by breaking Raonic in the tenth game.

 

The Canadian maintained serve throughout the second set and forced a tie-break which Federer won by gaining an advantage with some stunning points and closing it out on set point with a remarkable forehand winner 7-6(4).

 

In the third set Federer steamrolled to victory, dropping just two games and continuing his mission for a fifth Australian Open title.

 

“I felt good out there. I was moving well, had good anticipation and reaction today, which was key obviously on the return. Like I said, in the third set I started to feel extremely good on the return.”

 

“I played well. I think I played tactically well tonight and was able to keep the points short on my own service games, used the 1-2 punch. That was obviously also a good thing tonight.”

 

Federer could regain the top spot in the rankings if he wins the trophy here this year and Djokovic loses before the semifinals.

 

“Most of the times you play good, you know. When you play very good, that’s rare. So just have to try to have as many good days or great days as you can, and that’s why I push hard in practice and keep myself in shape.”

 

“Tonight was a very solid night, so I’m very happy. If I can maintain such a level of play, obviously I’m happy I give myself a chance of going deep in this tournament, which is obviously the goal.”

 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s new coaching arrangement with Australian Roger Rasheed is looking to be doing good things for the Frenchman’s game and determination. On Monday Tsonga defeated countryman Richard Gasquet 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-2 for a place in the quarterfinals against Federer.

 

“Yeah, of course, because he’s with me.  He’s giving me an extra motivation.  I mean, it’s great because he’s always positive.  He want maybe more than me to win.  He’s incredible.”

 

“So, you know, I try to be at his level and have exactly the same motivation because I think he can move some mountains, you know, because he’s very motivated.”

 

The Australian Open is the scene of Tsonga’s most successful run at a Grand Slam when he was runner-up to Novak Djokovic in 2008.

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Serena Williams Steamrolls into Quarterfinals in Melbourne

SerenaWilliamsFaceoff5 - Copy

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 21, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia - Serena Williams destroyed Maria Kirilenko in their fourth round match at the Australian Open, Williams with 87% of first serves in and creating 22 winners on her way to the 57 minute, 6-2, 6-0 thumping.

 

“No, I definitely have never hit that high of a percentage because I take a lot of chances with my serve.”

 

“It was good. But I really want to be able to keep it up.”

 

Williams progressed into the quarterfinals and extended her current winning streak of matches to 20. She has also increased her chance of regaining the world number one title with the win, Azarenka and Sharapova both needing to make the final if they are to have any chance of claiming top spot ahead of Williams.

 

The winner of five Australian Open titles experienced little resistance from her opponent tonight and was understandably pleased with her performance after the match.

 

“I was surprised. I felt like Maria played really well. I was just trying to play well, just to keep up.”

 

Williams plays compatriot Sloane Stephens in the quarterfinal and has played a mentor role for  the young American. She believes she has what it takes to make it to the top in the sport.

 

“No. I took a lot from that match. She plays well. Like I said after the match, she can be the greatest player.”

 

“I feel like for me it will be another good match and a good opportunity for both of us.”

 

“Definitely one of us will be in the semifinals, which I think is awesome. So it’s going to be good.”

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

 

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