WTA Brisbane International: Serena Williams beats Maria Sharapova to set up final showdown with Viktoria Azarenka
Last Updated: 03/01/14 2:12pm
Serena Williams: beat Maria Sharapova for the 14th time in a row
Serena Williams claimed an error-strewn 6-2 7-6 (9/7) victory over Maria Sharapova to book a meeting with Viktoria Azarenka in the final of the Brisbane International.
Williams served up seven aces but also produced the same number of double-faults, of which her Russian opponent made eight.
Both women were deserted by their serves, with the pair completing 10 breaks between them in a match lasting a little under an hour and three quarters.
The American broke in the sixth game of the match for a 4-2 lead before going on to hold, with a double-fault by Sharapova handing the world number one the set 6-2.
Neither woman could hold serve but nor could Williams see the match out, allowing Sharapova back in when serving for the match at 6-5 as the Russian forced a tie-break.
Williams moved to 6-5 and match point which she failed to capitalise upon before finally going through at 9-7 to wrap up a 14th straight win over her opponent.
It means the world's top two players will meet at Queeensland Tennis Centre and Williams told a press conference: "It'll be a good match to see where we both stand.
"She's so intense on court; off court she's so cool, there's a lot of mutual respect."
Azarenka rallies past Jankovic
Azarenka overcame a poor start to post a 1-6 6-3 6-4 victory over former world number one Jelena Jankovic.
The Australian Open champion dropped her first three service games and committed constant unforced errors as her opponent clinched the set in less than half an hour.
However, she broke for a 2-0 lead in the second and from thereon in settled down and forced a deciding set.
The Belarusian moved to 5-1 only for Jankovic to win three consecutive games but Azarenka held her nerve and managed to serve it out with her second match-point.
She told reporters: "If you want to win big titles you got to play against the best players, so I feel great about having that challenge every time I step on the court."