Williams bids to continue tyranny of Sharapova
By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - One of the few players with the game to trouble Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova's decade-long losing streak to the American great is one of the more curious anomalies in women's tennis.
Sharapova was a 17-year-old sensation when she last beat Williams at the title-decider of her debut at the season-ending Tour Finals in 2004.
That win followed her Wimbledon triumph a few months earlier when she shocked the American top seed in the final, a result hailed as one of the greatest upsets in the modern era by tennis writers at the time.
It has all been one-way traffic since with Williams notching 15 successive victories on all surfaces, a record that Sharapova has been reminded of, again and again, before her bid to break the streak in the Australian Open women's final on Saturday.
"I go into matches where I've beaten opponents and I don't want to focus on that because I don't want to get overly confident going onto the court," Sharapova said on Friday.
"But also it's tough knowing... that she has such a powerful game and I've had trouble against her.
"On the other side, when it's a final situation and knowing I'm a big competitor, I'll do everything I can to try and win the match."
Surprisingly, on paper, the defeats have not been hard-fought, as befits two of the toughest and most accomplished players in the women's game over the past decade. Continued...