Serena: I love playing Sharapova


Serena Williams extended her winning streak over rival Maria Sharapova in Melbourne on Tuesday, so it came as no surprise when the world number one said she enjoys playing the Russian.

Williams made it 18 consecutive victories against fifth seed Sharapova thanks to a 6-4 6-1 quarter-final triumph as the defending Australian Open champion progressed to the semi-finals at Melbourne Park.

The American 21-time grand slam champion has not lost to Sharapova since 2004.

Asked to explain just why she has been so dominant against the five-time major winner, Williams struggled to pinpoint an exact reason.

"I'm not sure why it happened. Doesn't matter who I'm playing, I just try to go out there and play the best I can. It's not necessarily anyone in particular," said Williams, who revealed she overcame a bout of food poisoning prior to Tuesday's showdown.

"There is something about her game. I like the way she hits the ball.

"Plus, when I play her, I know automatically I have to step up my game. I think that makes me play better.

"When I play better, when I'm forced to play better, I don't know, I do well."

Of Williams' 21 grand slams, six of them have come at the Australian Open as she prepares to meet Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the final four.

Radwanska is yet to lose in 2016, but Williams has won the tournament every time she has reached the semi-finals in Melbourne.

"It will be a good match. She's been playing really well towards the end of the year, and already this year she's been very consistent," the 34-year-old added.

"She presents a completely different game, an extremely exciting game. So I think it will be a long match and it will be a good match to see where I am."