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Wawrinka carves up Nishikori, Serena powers into semis

Wawrinka celebrates his win against Kei Nishikori

Defending champion Stan Wawrinka avenged his U.S. Open quarter-final defeat to Kei Nishikori in style with an emphatic 6-3 6-4 7-6(6) victory to charge into the semi-finals of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

The fourth-seeded Swiss has worked his way slowly into the year’s first grand slam but put his foot to the floor at a sun-drenched Rod Laver Arena, dominating Nishikori with raw power and compiling an exhaustive highlight reel of cleanly struck winners.

Wawrinka’s backhand was particularly deadly, picking off the clean-hitting Japanese from all points of the court, but the Swiss was also impressive rushing to the net, a relatively new weapon in his arsenal.

Wawrinka made hard work of the tiebreak, blowing five match points after storming to a 6-1 lead, but closed it out on the sixth with an ace to set up a semi-final with the winner of top seed Novak Djokovic and Milos Raonic.

Serena Williams broke her run of slow starts at the Australian Open on Wednesday to hammer Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 6-2 and set up an all-American semi-final against teenager Madison Keys.

An injury-hampered Keys dug deep to beat Williams’ older sister Venus in three sets earlier in the day, but Serena was in no mood for a contest as she broke the Slovakian 11th seed twice in each set and gave her nothing on serve.

Williams closed out the match when last year’s finalist Cibulkova clubbed a return past the baseline and the American grinned broadly as she smiled and waved at the Rod Laver Arena crowd on a sunny, breezy day.

Top seed Williams will head into the semi-final fresh after her one-hour five-minute rout as she bids to win her first title at Melbourne Park since 2010.

Results from the Australian Open Women’s Singles Quarterfinal matches on Wednesday
1-Serena Williams (U.S.) beat 11-Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia) 6-2 6-2
Madison Keys (U.S.) beat 18-Venus Williams (U.S.) 6-3 4-6 6-4

Results from the Australian Open Men’s Singles Quarterfinal matches on Wednesday
4-Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland) beat 5-Kei Nishikori (Japan) 6-3 6-4 7-6(6)

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