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A decade after that Aussie Open loss, Sharapova will try her luck again when the No. 1 and No. 2 players meet in the Australian final here Saturday.
"I think it's great for women's tennis,'' Williams said after beating Madison Keys in the semifinal. "I think it's good for me and Maria. I'm excited. Like I said, I love playing her. I look forward to it.
"I think my game matches up well against her," Williams added. "I love playing her. I think it's fun. I love her intensity. For whatever reason, I love playing [her]. I just have the time of my life.''
Why wouldn't Williams look forward to playing someone she always beats? Plus, Williams also is gunning to move into a tie with Helen Wills Moody for third place on the all-time list of Grand Slam victories with 19. Williams is 18-4 in the finals at majors and 5-0 at the finals here at the Aussie. Despite fighting off a nagging virus, she beat Madison Keys 7-6 (5), 6-2 in their semifinal.
But what about Sharapova? Does she have a chance? Of course, she does. This is sport. You never know. Flip a coin enough times and it's eventually bound to land your way. Hey, Tomas Berdych finally beat Rafael Nadal this week to end a 17-match losing streak.
Serena Williams will be going for her 19th major title and her sixth Australian Open crown in Saturday's final.
Plus, Sharapova is on a roll since nearly getting knocked out in the second round when she faced two match points against Alexandra Panova. Since then, she has yet to lose a set and has dropped only 15 games. That included a dominating semifinal match against Ekaterina Makarova that was never in doubt.
"Maria is playing great,'' Williams said. "She's in the tournament only because she's a fighter and only because she refuses to give up. So, yeah, it's a new match. She has nothing to lose, once again. She has only things to gain. And I feel that way, too. I've won this tournament several times. I don't have to go out there and have another title. I want it, but it's not life or death for me. I think that helps me relax.''
What else accounts for the lopsided record? Sharapova said that Williams' power and aggressiveness give her trouble.
"I think that's always made me a little too aggressive, maybe going for a little bit more than I had to,'' Sharapova said. "She's great at making players hit that shot that you don't necessarily have to go for. It's been a really difficult matchup for me, but I am a competitor. ... I will go out and I will do everything I can to change that result around.''
Williams has started off her matches sluggishly this tournament, then come roaring back. Such was the case in the semifinal against Keys when she went to a tiebreaker in the first set then crushed her 6-2 in the second set. If Williams starts off slowly again, Sharapova must take advantage (and keep the espresso machine away from Rod Laver Arena).
"It's going to be important for me to get off to a good start, I think,'' Williams said. "With that being said, if not, I'm going to be ready to fight. I think she really wants this. I can see that she wants to do well. She wants to improve her game. She wants to take it to the next level. So, you know, I have to know that she wants to win probably a lot.''