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first_imgMELBOURNE, Australia (AP):Serena Williams has never lost in the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Neither has Novak Djokovic.A key difference between the defending champions is that Williams beat the most-experienced and highest-ranked challenger in her half of the draw when she extended her streak to 18 consecutive wins against Maria Sharapova with a 6-4, 6-1 quarter-final victory yesterday.Williams said she wasn’t aware that she had won the Australian Open all six previous times she won her quarter-final match, “but that’s good”.”It’s not a stat that’s set in stone,” Williams said. “I still have to win two matches.”Five-time champion Djokovic, after beating No. 7 Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, still has a daunting semi-final match against Roger Federer, who has won four of his 17 Grand Slam titles in Australia.Federer reached his 12th Australian Open semi-final, and 39th in a Grand Slam event, with a 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 6 Tomas Berdych. He hasn’t gone past the semi-finals at Melbourne Park since winning the title in 2010, but he’s a serious obstacle for Djokovic.They’re 22-all in career head-to-heads, with Djokovic catching up since usurping Federer in the rankings.TRICKY TIEBREAKERThe tiebreaker will be tricky. Djokovic lost only one of his 28 Grand Slam matches in 2015 – to Stan Wawrinka in the French Open final – and has won 37 of his last 38 matches at Melbourne Park, a run that includes four titles.He beat Federer in the Wimbledon and US Open finals last year, but Federer was back contending for titles.”Any round feels like finals because of the fact that we are, you know, big rivals. We played so many times against each other,” Djokovic said. “There’s a lot of tension. There’s a lot at stake. I’m expecting a great fight in two days.”In the women’s semi-finals, Williams will be facing fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat No. 10 Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1, 6-3. Radwanska has won one of her previous four semi-finals at a major, but never won a Grand Slam title.Williams is 8-0 against Radwanska, including their meeting in the 2012 Wimbledon final.Williams said she couldn’t explain her 11-year domination of Sharapova – she has won 19 of their 21 meetings overall – except to say she rises to the big challenges.”When I play her, I know automatically I have to step up my game,” said Williams, a 21-time major winner. “I think that makes me play better.”last_img read more

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first_imgNapoli are reportedly set to rekindle their interest in West Ham target Santiago Arias.The Colombia international only joined Atletico Madrid in the summer, but is said to be considering his options already after finding game time under Diego Simeone hard to come by. REVEALED Where every Premier League club needs to strengthen in January Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT Alternative Premier League table based on expected goals – lucky Spurs? The average first-team salaries at every Premier League club in 2019 Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? sad day RIP LEGEND target BIG PRESENTS UP TOP targets What every Premier League club’s fans dream of this Christmas Tottenham line up bid for West Ham star who was labelled a ‘monster’ by Mourinho 1 Tributes to ‘complete gentleman’ Martin Peters following England legend’s death The right-back is far from a permanent fixture in Atleti’s side Arias, who transferred to the Spanish capital from PSV in July in an £11million deal, has made just three appearances so far this term and continues to be overlooked by Simeone.West Ham were interested in snapping up the defender during the summer and remain interested in the 26-year-old.However so do Napoli and, according to Corriere dello Sport, the Italian giants are ready to rekindle their interest in the right back in January.Atletico have so far not given any indication that the player is for sale but given he only joined in the summer, negotiations could prove tricky. Martin Peters, 1966 World Cup final goal scorer for England, dies aged 76 gameday cracker revealed REVEALED Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won Latest West Ham News ANALYSIS last_img read more

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