Serena Williams reaches Australian Open semifinals
The Associated Press
MELBOURNE, Australia — Serena Williams reached her 10th consecutive Grand Slam semifinal, and kept her bid alive for a record 23rd major title, with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Johanna Konta at the Australian Open today.
Her opponent in the semifinals, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who beat fifth-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, had a much longer wait to get back to this stage at a major — nearly 18 years.
It’s the second time in the last two years that three women in their 30s have reached the semifinals at a major: Venus Williams, 36, Serena Williams, 35, and Lucic-Baroni, 34. Serena also reached the semifinals at the 2015 U.S. Open, alongside 30-somethings Flavia Pennetta and Roberta Vinci.
“Thirties is the new 10,” Williams said after her match. “No matter what happens, someone 34 or older will be in the final.”
It’s also the first time since 2002 that three American women have reached the semifinals at the same Grand Slam — Venus Williams plays CoCo Vandeweghe in the other semifinal on Thursday.
The second-seeded Serena Williams was tested by Konta in the second set when the British player broke her to go up 2-1, but Williams broke back at love to level the score at 3-all and saved another break point in her next service game before closing out the match.
Lucic-Baroni advanced to the last four at a major for the first time since her run to the Wimbledon semifinals in 1999 at the age of 17.
The Croatian’s career was sidetracked by personal issues and financial problems, and she was largely out of the sport for several years before launching a comeback in the late 2000s.
Despite her recent difficulties, Lucic-Baroni said she never lost the belief she could compete at the top of the game.
“When you stop winning as much and you don’t play for a long time, yeah, you definitely lose it a little bit,” she said. “Not even lose it, you forget it. … And I’m really glad that I remembered.”
In men’s quarterfinals late Tuesday, 35-year-old Roger Federer, back from a six-month injury layoff due to left knee surgery, had a 6-1, 7-5, 6-2 win over Mischa Zverev, the player who eliminated top-seeded Andy Murray from the tournament two nights earlier.
Federer’s semifinal opponent will be Stan Wawrinka, who beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-3.