Former world No.1 Maria Sharapova is ruing the number 14 as she looks to regroup ahead of the year’s opening grand slam, the Australian Open.
Thirteen may be considered unlucky but former world No.1 Maria Sharapova is ruing the number 14 as she regroups for the Australian Open.
World No.1 Serena Williams maintained her extraordinary hold on arch rival Sharapova by extending her 10-year unbeaten streak over the four-time grand slam champion to reach the Brisbane International women’s final.
Williams overcame Sharapova 6-2 7-6 (9-7) in an intense semi-final on Friday night, clinching her 14th straight win over the world No.4.
Williams will play Australian Open defending champion Victoria Azarenka on Saturday night after the Belarusian outlasted former world No.1 Jelena Jankovic 1-6 6-3 6-4.
Incredibly Sharapova last tasted victory over her nemesis way back in 2004.
“I just found 14 ways how not to win,” Sharapova said of Williams’ remarkable streak.
“That’s the only way you can look at it.
“I could be in a worse position and never face her, which means I would be losing much earlier in tournaments than I want to be.
“I consider myself very lucky to be able to play against her and give myself another chance to try and beat her.”
Sharapova could still find positives ahead of the year’s opening grand slam after keeping Williams honest in the Russian’s first tournament in five months due to a shoulder complaint.
The third seed led 4-2 in the second set before a sometimes wayward Williams – who committed seven double faults – finally found another gear.
“If I want to have a chance to beat Serena I have to get myself in the match and I have to raise my level – this is what champions do,” Sharapova said.
“(But) it was a big step for me to be here. I worked hard.
“It’s not as if I was in retirement (the past five months).
“It was tough not seeing my name in the draws and tough seeing everybody playing tournaments and you’re just kind of going about trying to find a way to heal an injury and bit unsure when that will happen.
“(There were) a lot of question marks.”
The Brisbane women’s final will cap Saturday’s action which also features the men’s semi-finals.
Lleyton Hewitt will fly the Australian flag in his clash with second seed – world No.17 Kei Nishikori of Japan – while Swiss master Roger Federer takes on eighth-seeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.