World No.2 Serena Williams is into her 10th consecutive Grand Slam semi-finals as she demolished World No. 9 Johanna Konta 6-2 6-3 in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Wednesday.
Williams won nine of her 22 Grand Slam titles – a Grand Slam Open Era record she shares with Steffi Graf – since she turned 30.
Konta came into the Australian Open having won the Sydney International title earlier this month, but Williams presented a stupendous challenge in this first career encounter between the two. During the 75min match the World No.2 often left Konta at a loss as to what strategy would work convincingly against the second see.
“Johanna Konta has been playing so well,” said the second seed.
“I was in the locker room watching her clean up her matches. She is a future champion here for sure, so I am pleased to get through this.
“I got a little frustrated with my serve, but I told myself ‘don’t get Babyrena’ [Williams’ angry alter-ego] and focused on enjoying myself out here. Today I felt I can do this, it is such a great opportunity for me.”
Up next for Williams is 34-year-old Mirjana Lucia-Baroni who continued one Grand Slam tennis’ most fairy-tale runs with a stupendous three-set victory over Karolina Pliskova.
Lucic-Baroni is the third-lowest-ranked woman to reach this stage of the Australian Open.
Lucic-Baroni and Williams will meet for the first time since Wimbledon 1998 in Thursday’s semi-finals.
“It is really happening for the mid-30s,” said Williams.
“Mirjana – it is so good to see her back out and inspiring to see her in the semi-finals. Whatever happens there will be someone in the final in their mid-thirties.”
Meanwhile, Serena’s sister Venus takes on fellow American Coco Vandeweghe in the other semi-final.
This will be the second time in recent history that three women over 30 are into a Grand Slam semi-final.
“It will be great to see an American in the final, said Serena.”
“Obviously I would love to be that American in the final. Regardless, there’s going to be an American whose name is not Serena Williams, which I think will be pretty awesome,” she added.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) 25 January 2017