Serena Williams whips Maria Sharapova, advances to semi-finals of Australian Open

January 26, 2016

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams beat the most-experienced and highest-ranked challenger when she extended her streak to 18 consecutive wins against Maria Sharapova with a 6-4, 6-1 quarterfinal victory in on Tuesday.

Speaking about Sharopova fater the game, 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."

Williams attacked Sharapova's strength, targeting the five-time Grand Slam winner's improving serve.

"She played quite explosive," Sharapova said of Williams. "She was really explosive off the return. Yeah."

Sharapova who hasn't won against Williams since 2004, hasn't given up hope of breaking the drought.

"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."

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