Friday, April 20, 2018
Sports

Serena rolls to Aussie final

MELBOURNE, Australia — Six-time champion Serena Williams defeated Agnieszka Radwanska 6-0, 6-4 today to advance to her seventh Australian Open final.

With the Rod Laver Arena roof closed because of rain in the area, Williams broke Radwan­ska's serve to open the match and was rarely troubled in the 21-minute first set.

No. 4-ranked Radwanska broke Williams' serve to level the second set at 3, but the top-ranked Williams broke Radwanska's serve in the ninth game and closed with three aces and a forehand winner to win the match in 1 hour, 4 minutes.

Johanna Konta played Angelique Kerber in the other semifinal. (The match was not over at press time; go to tampabay.com/sports for result.) The winner faces Williams on Saturday. The blockbuster semifinal on the men's side, No. 1 Novak Djokovic against No. 3 Roger Federer, started around 3:30 a.m. Eastern time.

On Wednesday, Andy Murray and a much lesser-known British player, Konta, advanced to the semifinals.

Murray beat David Ferrer 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-3 to reach his 18th Grand Slam semifinal. Konta, who is making her debut in the main draw at the season's first major, won 6-4, 6-1 over Chinese qualifier Zhang Shuai.

It's the first time since the December 1977 version of the Australian Open that two British players — John Lloyd and Sue Barker that year — have advanced to the final four of any major.

"Johanna Konta has done unbelievable. She had some great wins here, beat a lot of seeded players," Murray said. "Very excited to have a British woman in the latter stage of a slam, that's not happened for a long, long time."

Konta, the first British woman to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Jo Durie at the 1983 U.S. Open, plays Kerber, who beat two-time champion Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 7-5.

Konta was handed a third match point through a Zhang double fault and converted thanks to a net cord bounce to earn her spot.

"I've just been taking it one match at a time — one point at a time," said Konta, beaten in the first round of qualifying a year ago. "She didn't make easy for me. …

"When I got ahead, she was constantly there. I'm not proud of the net cord, but I'm happy that I fought for every single point."

The No. 2-ranked Murray, who has lost four finals at Melbourne Park, meets Milos Raonic in the semifinals. The 25-year-old Canadian beat Gael Monfils 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a night match, continuing his strong form that has seen him beat Federer in the Brisbane International final and French Open champion Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round here.

Murray's match with Ferrer involved plenty of long rallies. Two — at 27 and 31 shots in length — came during the second-set tiebreaker, and Murray lost both points. But the Scotsman moved out to a 4-1 lead in the third set, during which there was a brief break when the roof at Rod Laver Arena was closed because of an approaching thunderstorm.

Murray liked it with a roof over his head.

"That helped me a little bit," Murray said. "I like playing indoors. I think it was actually good for us to have a little bit of a break. We played some brutal rallies at the end of the second set and the beginning of the third."

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