MARIA Sharapova has played her way into a fourth Australian Open final, but faces a monumental battle to win against her long-time nemesis Serena Williams.
Sharapova, who secured her berth in tomorrow night's final with a 6-3 6-2 win over fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova, has lost her last 15 clashes to top-seed Williams, who ended the dreams of young American Madison Keys 7-6 6-2.
Their head-to-head record is a lopsided 16-2 in Williams' favour, Sharapova's last victory coming in the final of the season-ending WTA Championships in 2004.
The Russian beat Ana Ivanovic in 2008 to win her only Australian Open title, a year after being outplayed 6-1 6-2 by Williams in the final at Melbourne Park.
Sharapova (pictured) will start as a heavy underdog to turn the tables on the world No.1, but said she was thrilled to have another chance to lift the trophy.
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