*Serena Williams has extended her streak to 18 consecutive wins against Maria Sharapova with a 6-4, 6-1 quarterfinal victory on Tuesday at the Australian Open.
In the women’s semifinals, 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 semifinals 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.
”When I’m forced to play better, I do well.”
Sharapova hasn’t given up hope of breaking a drought against Williams that goes back to 2004.
”It’s motivating because she’s at a different level,” Sharapova said. ”She makes you go back to the drawing board, not just for me, but for many other players. She makes you work. That’s inspiring.”