Australian Open Women’s final
|Venue: Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Park Coverage: 08:25 GMT, BBC Two, 08:00, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra|
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 theFrench 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.
The American has won their last 15 meetings, stretching back to a dramatic semi-final in Melbourne 10 years ago when Sharapova had three match points, only for the American to come through 8-6 in the third.
“It was tough to lose that one, I definitely had a lot of chances,” said Sharapova.
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.