Tennis’ great rivalry that never was ended in its usual fashion when Serena Williams ended up crushing her old sparring partner, Maria Sharapova.
Williams reached the semi-final of the Australian Open by scoring her eighteenth consecutive victory over the Russian with a 6-4 6-1 that quickly unravelled to end after an hour and 32 minutes.
The repeat of last year’s high class final was less competitive this time, with Williams eventually overwhelming Sharapova on a hot Australia Day afternoon at Melbourne Park.
From the start, where Serena kept her waiting for the ball toss, there were all sorts of mind games going on with the subliminal message from the American that she was in control.
Sharapova’s serve has been in excellent nick this tournament, but nobody returns it as well as the 34-year-old world number one, who kept up the pressure in the first set to win a real tug of war.
Williams’s serve was actually a big determining factor in the match, and it delivered thirteen aces as she eased ahead in the second.
The American summoned on the trainer twice, seemingly to dispense some painkillers, but it did not seem to hinder her performance. As ever Sharapova did not lack for motivation and fought until the very end, but to her evident frustration she cannot seem to dislodge Williams.

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