Serena Beats Konta to Australia Open Semis

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Six-time champion Serena Williams outplayed Britain’s Johanna Konta to reach the Australian Open semi-finals.

The American, 35, won 6-2 6-3 and will next play unseeded Croat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who beat fifth seed Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-4 3-6 6-4.

Konta, seeded ninth, went into the quarter-final on a nine-match and 18-set winning streak but came up short in her first meeting with Williams.

Williams is now two wins from claiming an Open-era record 23rd major title.

“Johanna Konta has been playing so well,” said the second seed.

“I was in the locker room watching her clean up her matches. She is a future champion here for sure, so I am pleased to get through this.

“I got a little frustrated with my serve, but I told myself ‘don’t get Babyrena’ [Williams’ angry alter-ego] and focused on enjoying myself out here. Today I felt I can do this, it is such a great opportunity for me.”

Konta described facing Williams as the “best experience of my life”.

World number 79 Lucic-Baroni upset Pliskova to reach the semi-finals in Melbourne – 18 years after she reached the same stage at Wimbledon.

Lucic-Baroni and Williams will meet for the first time since Wimbledon 1998 in Thursday’s semi-final.

“It is really happening for the mid-30s,” said Williams.

“Mirjana – it is so good to see her back out and inspiring to see her in the semi-finals. Whatever happens there will be someone in the final in their mid-thirties.”

Serena’s sister Venus takes on fellow American Coco Vandeweghe in the other semi-final – BBC

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