Even when not at his fluent best, world number one Novak Djokovic stormed into the semi-finals on day nine of the Australian Open as the Serbian easily dispatched Japan’s Kei Nishikori in his bid for an 11th grandslam title.
The Serbian struggled on his own serve and Nishikori broke him twice in the third set and edged 3-1 ahead but the seventh seed was unable to capitalise on his own serve smashing his racquet in frustration.
Djokovic roared back and fired a cross-court backhand winner for a 6-3 6-2 6-4 straight sets win and avenging his loss to Nishikori in the 2014 US open semi-finals.
It will be a familiar opponent for Djokovic in the semi-finals as Roger Federer sealed his spot in the final four in Melbourne as the Swiss man also enjoyed a 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 6-4 straight sets win over Czech Republic’s Thomas Berdych.
It took a while for the 34-year-old to get up and running as Berdych forced a tie-break in the first set but the Swiss man began to get his groove and after claiming the first set, Federer took control as sixth seed Berdych could not find a way back into the match.
Federer raced to a two-set lead and while the Czech man put up some resistance in the third when he broke early with a strong backhand winner, a double-fault allowed Federer to break and race to victory, as he searches for his first grand slam since 2012.
Maria Sharapova’s woes against Serena Williams continued as the defending champion kept up her quest for a 22nd grandslam title with a comfortable win over the Russian.
The Russian did have her chances to end an 18-game losing streak against Williams, which stretches back to 2004, with two break points at the end of the first set but the top seed denied Sharapova to win the first set.
It was one-way traffic thereafter as the veteran American broke the fifth seed twice as she stormed into a 5-0 lead and while there was a late rally from Sharapova with two break points at 5-1, Williams crashed a forehand to seal a 6-4 6-1 victory.
Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska will stand between Williams and a place in the final, after the fourth seed also enjoyed a comfortable straight sets win over Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro.
The fourth seed encountered little difficulties in her quarter-final with the Spaniard dropping just four games in a 6-1 6-3 win, as she now faces a tough semi-final with favourite Serena Williams.