Australian Open 2015: Serena Williams sets up Maria Sharapova final

Serena Williams sets up an Australian Open final with Maria Sharapova

Serena Williams says that she is braced for a gruelling encounter when she takes on Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open final.

The top seed and world No1 needed nine match points to beat fellow American Madison Keys 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 in her semi-final encounter.

Sharapova, meanwhile, won the all-Russian contest against Ekaterina Makarova 6-3 6-2.

“Maria is playing great,” said Williams. She’s in the tournament only because she’s a fighter and only because she refuses to give up.

“So 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. She absolutely has nothing to lose, and I have nothing to lose, so it will be fun.”

The 27-year-old Sharapova has not beaten Williams since 2004 but is remaining upbeat.

“I think my confidence should be pretty high going into a final of a Grand Slam, no matter who I’m facing and whether I’ve had a terrible record – to say the least – against someone,” said Sharapova.

“It doesn’t matter. I got there for a reason. I belong in that spot. I will do everything I can to get the title.”

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