Serena makes it 18 straight over Sharapova

Updated: 

Serena Williams extended her winning run over Maria Sharapova to 18 matches with a straight-sets victory in their Australian Open quarter-final.

The American 21-time grand slam champion last lost to Sharapova in 2004 and she maintained that extraordinary record with a 6-4 6-1 victory on Rod Laver Arena on a warm Tuesday.

Williams, a six-time winner at Melbourne Park, stepped up when she needed to as the two power-hitters went head to head from the baseline.

But Russian fifth seed Sharapova endured problems with her serve and it proved costly as she failed to capitalise on a slow start from Williams, who seemed to be struggling in the heat.

Williams' win sends her into a seventh Australian Open semi-final - where she will face Agnieszka Radwanska - and she has won the title every time she has reached this stage in Melbourne.

The points were kept short against five-time grand slam winner Sharapova and that was what both wanted, but Williams crushed 31 winners to her rival's 11.

After a tough 55-minute first set, the second was all Williams as she lost just 15 points to brush Sharapova aside once more.

The pair traded early breaks as Williams made a loose start - her forehand particularly off - and Sharapova was punished for two double faults.

Sharapova was struggling with her serve and the double faults continued, but she crucially held from 0-40 down in the eighth game.

Williams held in an eight-minute ninth game and from the end where the sun was causing the server problems, and she would capitalise on that.

After a lucky net cord helped her stay in the 10th game, Williams converted her fourth set point with a forehand volley.

Williams required a trainer at the end of the set due to what appeared to be illness, but she was having few problems on the court as she broke for 2-0 in the second.

Sharapova, rueing her missed opportunities in the first set, was no match for Williams in the second as the American completed her win. 

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Williams [1] bt Sharapova [5] 6-4 6-1

ACES

Williams - 13

Sharapova - 3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Williams - 31/20

Sharapova - 11/12

BREAK POINTS WON

Williams - 4/10

Sharapova - 1/5

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE

Williams - 58

Sharapova - 55

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE

Williams - 73/52

Sharapova - 59/38

TOTAL POINTS

Williams - 70

Sharapova - 52