Sharapova sets up Serena showdown

January 29, 2015
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Maria Sharapova is desperate to end her long losing streak against Serena Williams when she comes up against the world number one in the Australian Open final.

Sharapova won the all-Russian semi-final against Ekaterina Makarova 6-3 6-2 to move into the tenth Grand Slam final of her career, but she has a wretched record against Williams, who beat Madison Keys 7-6 6-2 in the other last-four encounter in Melbourne.

Williams has won 16 of her previous 18 meetings with Sharapova, including the last 15, and is 2.10 to beat the Russian in two sets in the final.

Number two seed Sharapova was always in control of her semi-final, surging into an early 4-1 lead, with Makarova never really looking like she would get back into the contest.

Sharapova is now ready to take on Williams, but admitted: "I think her power and aggressiveness has always made me a little bit too aggressive, maybe going for a little bit more than I had to.

"It's been a really difficult match-up for me in the past, but I'm a competitor. I will go out and I will do everything I can to try to change that result around."

Williams wasted eight match points before eventually seeing off Keys, a result that confirmed that she will remain at the top of the world rankings, even if she loses to Sharapova, who is 6.00 to win the final in three sets.

"Everyone's going to expect me to win, but Maria is playing unbelievable," Williams said of the final. "She was almost out of the tournament and came back, and she's playing better in every single match.


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