(January 25, 2017) Serena Williams reached her 34th major semifinal on Wednesday defeating No. 9 seed Johanna Konta of Great Britain 6-2, 6-3 at the Australian Open in Melbourne. The 35-year-old Williams, seeded No. 2 will play 34-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, for a place in the Australian Open final. The 79-ranked Lucic-Baroni won her quarterfinal match earlier in the day.
“I don’t know. She’s playing really well. I think it’s so important not to underestimate anyone, Williams commenting about playing Lucic-Baroni. “This has been coming for her for a long time. She’s been wanting to win Grand Slams and to do well.
“It’s so important for me to just stay focused and hopefully play well. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a win. I’m here to win. I’m here to do the best that I can.
“Yeah, so hopefully I’ll be able to do well.”
Williams talked about the last time she played Lucic-Baroni: “It was in ’98, I remember. It was on Centre Court. That’s all I remember. I remember winning. I was so excited because I was so young. She obviously was super young, too. That’s all.
“Honestly, we have totally different games now, the both of us. We both have gone through a lot. We both have survived, and here we are, which I think is a really remarkable story.”
Should Williams win the final it would be her 23rd major, the most in the Open Era. She would also reclaim the No. 1 spot.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 25, 2017
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) January 25, 2017
The dream continues for Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. The 34-year old ranked 79th in the world knocked out fifth seed and U.S. Open finalist Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 at the Australian Open to reach her first semifinal at a major since Wimbledon in 1999.
Back in 1999, Lucic Baroni was a teenager in the Wimbledon semifinals, losing to Steffi Graf. After initial success, she had to contend with injuries and personal problem which took her out of the game.
“I was just really thankful, really thankful to God that I was able to do this today, that I was able to finish my match
“I started hurting pretty bad mid-match, especially towards the end. The fact that I was able to do it and so well at the end, I was really grateful.”
“This is what I’ve been dreaming about, this is what I’ve been training for. At 34 years old, like I said before, I have a wonderful home. I’m happily married. I would be perfectly okay being at home enjoying my family.
“But I really knew deep down in my soul that I have these results in me. To now be here and actually live these moments, it’s incredible.
“On the other side of the draw, 36-year-old Venus Williams will play fellow American, 25-year-old Coco Vandeweghe ranked No. 35 in the world.”
“This time, it’s incredibly special, especially since it’s been so long since the last time I’ve been in semifinals. And the struggle has been so much bigger, and nobody in this world thought I could ever be here again, beside my closest family, my coach, and my brothers, my sisters, my husband, my mom. Beside my little circle, I don’t think anybody believed that I could do it. And it’s really fun.
“It’s fun to prove everybody wrong, and it’s fun to enjoy this for myself and live these incredible moments. It’s more special this time, for sure.”
“Serena is our greatest champion, for sure, the greatest tennis player that ever played the game. So it’s going to be incredibly tough. She is going to history. I’m sure she’s going to be motivated to play well.
“And I’m just going to do my thing like I’ve done before ever other match. I’m going to recover and try to rest. I’m going to go out there with my heart and do the best that I can tomorrow.”
Serena Williams has a 2-0 record against Lucic-Baroni.
On the other side of the draw, 36-year-old Venus Williams will play fellow American, 25-year-old Coco Vandeweghe ranked No. 35 in the world.
In men’s action, No. 9 seed Rafael Nadal and No. 15 seed Grogor Dimitrov advanced to the semifinals. Nadal defeated third seed Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6, 6-4, while Dimitrov stopped No. 11 seed David Goffin 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
Nadal has a 7-1 record against Dimitrov.
More to follow….