Djokovic, Serena on fire to make Aussie semis
Melbourne: Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams lived up to their top billing today with the world number ones ripping apart Milos Raonic and Dominika Cibulkova to power into the Australian Open semi-finals.
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,” said the Serb, gunning for an eighth Grand Slam title and a fifth in Melbourne.
“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.”
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,” said Serena, who has been battling a cold.
“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.”
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.