Serena Williams is aiming to follow up her dismissal of top seed Simona Halep by beating Karolina Pliskova to make the Australian Open semi-finals Wednesday as Novak Djokovic stares down marathon man Kei Nishikori.
In the other two quarter-finals on day 10 of the opening Grand Slam of the year, Naomi Osaka meets Elina Svitolina while big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic takes on Frenchman Lucas Pouille.
Despite being seeded 16, American great Williams reminded world number one Halep who’s boss and she is looking to give the same treatment to seventh seed Pliskova.
“I think overall I’m solid. I can definitely go to a new level. I have to if I want to stay in the tournament,” said the 37-year-old, who is gunning for an eighth Melbourne Park crown and a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.
Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou has no doubt she can go on all the way.
“Of course I believe she will win,” he said. “I think I should be in that state of mind. Because she’s Serena.”
Pliskova, who has never gone beyond the Australian Open last eight, has been through two three-setters on her way to the quarter-finals but said she was improving as the tournament wore on.
“I just want to keep up the level to play better with every match, and so far I think I have been doing good,” she said.
The winner will play either Osaka or Svitolina for a place in the final against unseeded American Danielle Collins or two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova who are already through.
Japan’s fourth-seeded Osaka is attempting to win back-to-back Grand Slams following her victory over Williams at the US Open, but is wary of the dangerous Ukrainian in the morning match on Rod Laver Arena.
“I have played her multiple times now, and I know she’s a very consistent player and when she has the chance she does like to attack,” she said of Svitolina.
“I think playing her is going to be very difficult for me.”
Djokovic admitted he “didn’t feel so great” after surviving a four-set test in the last 16, and knows he has his work cut out against Japan’s Nishikori who has battled through three hard five-setters so far.
“He’s a very talented player. One of the quickest players on the tour. You know, hard worker. I have lots of respect for him,” said the Serbian world number one.
The winner will play 16th seed Raonic or 28th seed Pouille.
Stefanos Tsitsipas and Rafael Nadal have already secured their berths in the last four.
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