Top seed Novak Djokovic is relishing the renewal of his intense Australian Open rivalry with defending champion Stan Wawrinka after both men enjoyed comfortable quarter-final wins in Melbourne yesterday.
Wawrinka continued his impressive title defence with a straight-sets win over Japan's Kei Nishikori, before Djokovic outclassed the big-serving Milos Raonic on Rod Laver Arena. Djokovic beat Wawrinka 12-10 in the fifth set in a fourth-round clash before claiming his third straight title in 2013, but Wawrinka ended the world number one's 25-match unbeaten run in the quarter-finals last year. "The crowd are definitely expecting a marathon like the last couple of years and I am sure both of us will give our best to perform the best possible tennis," Djokovic said after beating eighth seed Raonic 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 6-2. Women's top seed Serena Williams powered into the semi-finals of the Australian Open, but was denied a showdown with elder sister Venus. Serena had to save set points in her second round match and lost the opening set in rounds three and four, but made no such mistake against 2014 finalist Dominika Cibulkova on Rod Laver Arena.
The 18-time grand slam singles winner took the opening set with two breaks of serve and fired down a total of 15 aces to complete a 6-2 6-2 victory in 65 minutes.
Venus had earlier lost in three sets to Madison Keys, a player 15 years her junior.
Rory McIlroy has once again given his support to Darren Clarke as the battle to become the next European Ryder Cup captain looks to be coming down to a two-horse race. Clarke revealed on Tuesday he believes the battle is now between himself and Jimenez and, speaking ahead of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, McIlroy has given his backing to his countryman. "I'm going to be a little biased, Darren is a good friend of mine and from Northern Ireland, so it would be great to see him get the captaincy, but if it was to be Miguel then I'd have no problems either," McIlroy said. "They are both quality candidates and great players. As long as I'm on the team and they decide to play me I'm happy enough."