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Djokovic, Williams on song

Djokovic, Williams on song
Both were in outstanding touch as they hunt for more Grand Slam glory with Djokovic meeting defending champion Stan Wawrinka for a place in the final while Williams will face unseeded Madison Keys.

Big-serving Canadian eighth seed Raonic had no answer to Djokovic’s superior all-court game and was ruthlessly swept aside 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-2, surrendering meekly after just two hours. “I’m going to be ready for a fight against Stan. But knowing that I have raised the level of performance tonight, and probably playing the best match of the tournament so far is affecting my confidence in a positive way,” said the Serb, gunning for an eighth Grand Slam title and a fifth in Melbourne.

Williams was equally impressive, shooting down last year’s finalist Cibulkova to set up a revenge clash with fellow American Keys, who knocked out her sister Venus. Unlike her earlier sluggish matches, Serena was in the zone from the off against the dangerous Slovak, a steely look in her eyes.

The powerful 33-year-old blasted 15 aces to pummel the 11th seed 6-2, 6-2 in just over an hour and make her 26th Grand Slam semi-final. She has gone on to win 18 major titles. “I feel I played well, I felt I had to. I feel like when you’re going up against a player like that who is confident on the court ... I knew that I needed to really play well or go home,” said Serena, who has been battling a cold. Arch-rival Maria Sharapova made the semis on Tuesday and will face fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova on Thursday.

The unseeded Keys, 19, is the tournament surprise package, fighting hard to beat a resurgent Venus 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 and end any chance of the sisters meeting in a Grand Slam semi for the first time since Wimbledon 2000. Keys did the job despite inconvenienced by a left thigh injury.

“I think just being able to come back from being down and from not being able to move as well ... just being able to kind of grind through that, still manage to win some points, is what I’m most happy about,” she said. In an ominous sigh for Keys, Serena has made the last four in Melbourne five times before and gone on win the championship each time.

Wawrinka shattered the dream of Japanese superstar Kei Nishikori, but not before blowing five match points in a tiebreaker as nerves got the better of him. The Swiss fourth seed finally won 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) to deprive the fifth seed of a crack at another final, having made the US Open decider last year.

“I trust my game. I trust myself on the court even when we start to play semifinal or final in Grand Slam,” he said of meeting Djokovic. Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych play the other semi-final after booking their places on Tuesday.
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