Tennis

Serena laid back after ousting Sharapova in q-final

Williams adopts laid-back approach ahead of semis clash with Radwanska

Serena Williams, with 21 Grand Slam titles in her trophy cabinet, thinks she has nothing left to prove to anyone and just wants to have fun for the remainder of her career.

The 34-year-old American eased into the semi-finals of the Australian Open with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Maria Sharapova yesterday to remain on course for a seventh title at Melbourne Park.

Dismissing the idea that this might be her 16th and final appearance at the year's first Grand Slam, she said: "Hopefully not, unless you know something I don't."

Williams spoke of a different approach to her tennis this year.

"I told myself that I'm here to have fun now. I've done everything that I didn't want to do, you know. I didn't think I would have done as well as I have," she said.

"Everything from here on out, every match, is a bonus for me.

"I don't have to win this tournament or any other tournament for as long as I live.

"I really want to enjoy being a professional tennis player and playing on Grand Slam courts, moments like this."

Williams, who played her first Grand Slam at the 1998 Australian Open, said she had surprised even herself by continuing to play well into her thirties.

"I think longevity is something definitely to look at," she said.

"Personally, I didn't think I'd be playing at this age. But I'm still here and I'm doing well.

"I think that's the reason I am still playing, because I know that I'm capable, if I play well, of being on top."

Williams beat Maria Sharapova for an 18th straight time yesterday despite a bout of food poisoning.

MASTERY

The six-time Melbourne Park champion heaped more misery on her long-time rival, with the Russian fifth seed stretching her demoralising winless run against the American great to 12 years.

The last time Sharapova beat Williams was in 2004 when she won the Wimbledon title.

Despite yet another defeat, the 28-year-old Sharapova tried to take away some positives.

"It's motivating because she's at a different level. She makes you go back to the drawing board, not just for me, but for many other players," she said.

"She makes you work. That's inspiring."

With Sharapova again swatted aside, Williams now has world No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska in her sights.

The signs are not good for Radwanska, despite her convincing 6-1, 6-3 win over Spanish 10th seed Carla Suarez on the Rod Laver Arena yesterday.

While the Pole's record against Williams is not yet on the scale of Sharapova, it is still dismal.

They have played eight times since 2008 and Agnieszka has lost the lot, taking just one set along the way.

Another ominous fact facing the Pole is that every time defending champion Williams has got past the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park, she has gone on to win the tournament.

Radwanska, a semi-finalist last year, said she did not mind who she faced in the last-four clash tomorrow.

"I have nothing to lose and it does not matter who I play. Hopefully, I can play my best tennis or I'll be in trouble," said the 26-year-old, who is on a 13-match winning streak.

Radwanska added that the experience she gained from making the Wimbledon final in 2012, along with three other Major semis, would be crucial.

"Experience is very important in tennis. I'm happy to have that and I'll be ready for the semi," she said.

Her big-match experience pales in comparison to Williams who has won 21 Grand Slam titles, including six at Melbourne Park, and played in four other finals at the Majors.

"She's been playing really well towards the end of the year, and already this year she's been very consistent," Williams said of Radwanska, a friend off court.

"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." - Wire Services.


WHAT'S GONE

WOMEN'S SINGLES Q-FINALS

  • Serena Williams (x1) bt Maria Sharapova (x5) 6-4, 6-1.
  • Agnieszka Radwanska (x4) bt Carla Suarez Navarro (x10) 6-1, 6-3.
australian openUncategorisedserena williamsMaria Sharapovaagnieszka radwanska