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Serena ousts Konta, Nadal rolls over Raonic to reach semis

By The Assam Tribune

MELBOURNE, Jan 25: Serena Williams remained on course for her 23rd Grand Slam title by quelling the challenge of in-form Briton Johanna Konta 6-2, 6-3 to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open for the eighth time on Wednesday.

The 35-year-old American served up 10 aces and thumped 25 winners over 75 minutes on Rod Laver Arena to join sister Venus in the last four, where she will play Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

Ninth seed Konta, who reached the semifinals here last year and won the Sydney warm-up tournament, managed a single break in the second set but was unable to cope with the power of the world number two.

Williams succeeded in finding the target on less than half of her first serves but cleaned up the points on 88 percent of the occasions when she did.

Furious with herself at times because of her inaccuracy, Williams channelled the anger to overcome 25-year-old Konta and reach her 34th Grand Slam semifinal without having given up a set in five matches.

�I missed a lot today, I got a little frustrated, then I told myself �Serena, stop complaining don�t be a Baby-rena out on court there�,� she said.

Williams is seeking her seventh Melbourne Park title, which would assure her of a return to world number one in place of ousted champion Angelique Kerber.

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni�s leg hurt so bad she thought she might have to be wheeled out of Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday but the gutsy Croat hung tough to record a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 quarterfinal victory over fifth seed Karolina Pliskova.

The 34-year-old�s only other appearance in the last four of a Grand Slam was against Steffi Graf at Wimbledon in 1999.

The German-born righthander won her first singles match at Melbourne Park in 1998 but had to wait 19 years for her second victory in the year�s opening grand slam last week.

Reaching the last four was beyond her wildest expectations.

�I can�t believe this, this is crazy,� she said.

�I can�t believe I�m in semifinals again. I feel a little bit in shock right now.�

In the men�s section, Rafael Nadal continued his brilliant revival to topple Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6(7), 6-4 and reach his first Grand Slam semifinal in three years.

In another quarterfinal, Grigor Dimitrov dismantled 11th seed David Goffin 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to advance to his second grand slam semifinal. � Agencies

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