Saturday, 31 January 2015

Serena, Sharapova Clash In Australian Open Final

Serena, Sharapova

World number two Maria Sharapova will aim to end an 11-year losing streak when she takes on Serena Williams in Saturday's Australian Open final.

Top seed Williams has a 16-2 record against the 27-year-old Russian and has not lost to her since 2004.

The 33-year-old American is a five-time Australian Open champion and is looking to win her 19th Grand Slam title.

"It's been a really difficult match-up for me, but I am a competitor," said Sharapova, seeded second.

"I will go out and I will do everything I can to try to change that result around."

Sharapova won the title in 2008 and collected her fifth major at the French Open last June.

The top two players in the world should provide a compelling final, but there have been some one-sided encounters since Sharapova's back-to-back wins at Wimbledon and the WTA Finals in 2014.

Williams lost just three games in the 2007 Australian Open final and thrashed Sharapova 6-0 6-1 in the 2012 Olympic final.

While the pair could never be described as friends, and have exchanged sharp words in the past, there is plenty of mutual respect on court.

"I think she's been a wonderful player in this era," said Williams. "She's so consistent. She just always wants to get better.

"It's going to be important for me to get off to a good start, I think. With that being said, if not, I'm going to be ready to fight."

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