MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams provided another reminder of her dominance in women’s tennis with a 6-0, 6-4 win in the Australian Open semifinals against Agnieszka Radwanska, who is soon to move to the No. 3 ranking.
Six-time champion Williams has never lost a semifinal or final at the Australian Open, and is an overwhelming favorite to win her seventh title at Melbourne Park and claim a 22nd major. That would pull her even with Steffi Graf for the most majors in the Open era and second-most in history behind Margaret Court’s 24.
The first set was no contest, over in 20 minutes. Williams hit 18 winners and Radwanska, in her fifth major semifinal, had one — in the fourth game.
The second set was closer, with Radwanska holding serve three times and breaking Serena’s powerful serve once. But the 34-year-old Williams lifted again to finish it off, winning the last eight points and closing with three aces and a big forehand winner.
Despite all her success, it is a loss that is inspiring Williams in this tournament. She was two wins away from a calendar-year Grand Slam in 2015 when she lost to Roberta Vinci in the U.S. Open semifinals.
“Physically I’m feeling a lot better, mentally I needed that break after the Open,” she said, but “I didn’t think I would do this well this fast.
“I’m really excited to be in the final — it just kind of blows my mind right now.”
Williams remains unbeaten in nine matches against Radwanska, whom she beat in the 2012 Wimbledon final. She’ll next meet the winner of Thursday’s later match between No. 7-seeded Angelique Kerber and No. 47-ranked Johanna Konta, the first British woman since 1983 to reach a major semifinal.
Radwanksa said there will little she could do in the first set to combat Williams, “she started unbelievable, with such a power and speed. I was just standing there kind of watching her playing.”
“I had my little chance in second set, especially when it was 4-all,” she said, “But otherwise just too good.
“You know, if she’s playing her game, it’s a different level … I don’t think anyone (else) can really play on that level.”
With the roof on Rod Laver Arena closed because of a thunderstorm closing in, the most obvious noise in the first set was the chirping of trapped birds who’d taken shelter in the stadium.
The chirping intensified as Williams served in the sixth game of the second set, and she looked up angrily after her off-balance forehand from the baseline conceding her only service break of the match.
Williams finished with eight aces — all in the second set — and has dropped only 26 games in six rounds in a dominating run that included a 6-4, 6-1 win over No. 5 Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals, a rematch of the 2015 final.
Jamie Murray and Brazil’s Bruno Soares are through to the men’s doubles final after a 6-3, 6-1 win over the French team of Adrian Mannarino and Lucas Pouille.
The first men’s semifinal between defending champion Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will open the night session.