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Sharapova – Williams set for star-studded final

History shows Serena Williams has little issue beating Maria Sharapova but she's been pushed a little bit more in this tournament than the younger Russian.

History shows Serena Williams has little issue beating Maria Sharapova but she’s been pushed a little bit more in this tournament than the younger Russian.

It’s the star-studded final we all wanted: Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova. The top two women tennis players in the world are headed to center-court for a championship match showdown.

Despite Madison Keys’ best efforts to continue her miraculous run, Williams out-lasted the 19-year-old in a hard-fought semifinals match. Keys pushed Williams to the limit in the first set and extended the second-set longer than it should have gone but Williams prevailed 7-6 (7-5), 6-2. Down 5-1 in the second set, Keys battled and battled and battled and stole the seventh game before Williams advanced to her sixth Australian Open final. She’s won all five of her previous finals matches.

Williams hasn’t been threatened, but she has been through battles during this tournament. Aside from a tough battle against Keys, Williams was taken to a third set by Elina Svitolina in the third round and Garbine Muguruza in the fourth round. She did make pretty easy work of Dominika Cibulkova in the quarterfinals, however.

Sharapova has breezed through much easier. In this tournament, aside from a second round match against Alexandra Panova, Sharapova has won all of her matches in two sets. That includes victories over No. 31 Zarina Diyas, 21. Pen Shui, 7. Genie Bouchard and 10. Ekaterina Makarova. She beat Marakova in the semifinals, 6-3, 6-2.

But even though these are clearly the two best women tennis players in the world, the head-to-head statistics aren’t even close. Williams has dominated Sharapova. The Russian hasn’t won a match against Williams since 2004 and has only won a single set one in their past 11 meetings. Williams leads the all-time series, 16-2.

The two have met in the Australian Open twice before. In 2005, Williams won in three sets in the semifinals and took both sets in the 2007 finals.

But this is a different Sharapova. At 27-years-old, Sharapova is smack in the prime of her career. Williams, at 33, has defied her age but this could be the moment Sharapova proves she is the best in the world.

So far, Sharapova hasn’t lost a match in 2015 and is coming off a WTA Brisbane International Championship, where she topped Ana Ivanovic in the finals.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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