(Jan 27, 2015) — World No. 1 Serena Williams, powered her way past last year’s Australian Open finalist, Dominika Cibulkova, 6-2, 6-2, while the unseeded 19 year-old Madison Keys came back from a thigh injury and defeated Venus Williams. For Serena, a five-time Australian Open champion, this will be her 26th major semifinal. She has a 22-3 record.
Serena’s power game was on and she played one of her best matches of the tournament against Cibulkova. By the numbers..Serena rifled 15 aces while winning 83% of her 1st serves. And 31 winners to just 18 errors. But the top-seeded player expects a tough match against Keys. “I think she likes the surface,” Williams said. “I’m just happy to be in the semis, and whatever happens, an American will be in the final.”
Keys is the first American teenager to reach a major semifinal since 2013. The loss ended an encouraging 10 days for Venus at Melbourne Park. She hadn’t advanced to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam since the US Open in 2010 and had struggled to recapture her earlier form after being diagnosed in 2011 with Sjogren’s syndrome, an auto-immune disease that causes fatigue and joint pain.
The semifinalists from the other half of the women’s draw already had been determined — and it will be an all Russian affair — No. 2 Maria Sharapova will play No. 10-seeded Ekaterina Makarova, also on Thursday.