Following an entertaining, albeit one-sided, semi-final stage, the 2015 Australian Open Final is officially set, as the top two seeds will meet in the tournament final to determine who will lift the season-opening Grand Slam title.
The first match of the day saw Maria Sharapova oust Simona Halep-vanquisher Ekaterina Makarova with relative ease, 6-3, 6-2. Sharapova was in total command of the match from the get-go, as she stormed to a 3-0 lead to open the match, and even held a 4-0 lead in the second set.
Apart from a second round scare, Sharapova eased into her 10th Grand Slam final with little difficulty.
“It’s really special,” Sharapova said in her post-match interview. “You work really hard for these two weeks and fight through some tough matches, some tough situations, and you come from behind in some of them – for me really behind in one of them, saving two match points in the second round.”
The second semi-final saw a more entertaining match-up, where both the winner and the loser looked good by the time they came to exit the court. World No. 1 Serena Williams managed to weather the storm from Madison Keys and defeated the surging youngster in straight sets, but it was not without its difficult moments.
Keys saved eight match points before falling on the ninth attempt from Williams. It was a remarkable display of grit and determination from a player who had most of her leg bandaged.
“I was a little frustrated at the end – I had so many match points and just couldn’t close it out, and that doesn’t usually happen,” Williams said. “But in retrospect, she was playing very well. She served so well. I’m a really big fan of hers. She’s so awesome, she’s so positive, just a great player.”
Williams and Sharapova will rekindle their rivalry on Saturday evening in Melbourne. Williams is looking to become the only woman alongside Steffi Graf to win 19 Grand Slams, while Sharapova is after her sixth overall.