Maria Sharapova Australian Open
Maria Sharapova will have to play out of her skin to top Serena Williams in the final of the Australian OpenReuters

The world number one and two in the final of the first Grand Slam of the year – it does not get any better than this as Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova go head to head in the final of the Australian Open on Saturday.

Serena has a ridiculous record against Sharapova, having beaten the Russian in every match since 2004 – Sharapova was a 17-year-old the last time she tasted victory over Williams.

The 16-2 head-to-head record is not great reading for Sharapova, but that will be the challenge that she will have to overcome if she is to stand taller than her already tall self at the end of the match in Melbourne.

"I think my confidence should be pretty high going into a final of a Grand Slam no matter who I'm facing against and whether I've had a terrible record, to say the least, against someone," said Sharapova.

"It doesn't matter. I got there for a reason. I belong in that spot. I will do everything I can to get the title."

Sharapova will probably need to do a little more than everything if she is to stop the Serena juggernaut. Apart from the fact that the American holds a great record against her, she will also be up against undoubtedly the best women's singles player in the world at the moment.

With a 19th Grand Slam title just a victory away, it will take a mammoth effort from Sharapova to stop Serena in her tracks.

Serena Williams Australian Open 2015
Serena Williams will look to continue her stranglehold on Maria Sharapova when the two superstars meet in the Australian Open finalReuters

"I take a lot of pride in it [the brilliant record against Sharapova]. But it's not one thing I'm thinking about.

"I just go out there and play. I think my game matches up well against her. I love playing her. I think it's fun. I love her intensity. For whatever reason, I love playing. I just have the time of my life."

When playing Sharapova, Serena, who is near unstoppable even when she is off her game, just seems to go up another exalted level, and that, if anything, is a big compliment to the Russian.

"I think she [Sharapova] really wants this," said Serena. "I can see that she wants to do well. She wants to improve her game. She wants to take it to the next level. So, I have to know that she wants to win probably a lot.

"I think it's great for women's tennis. I think it's good for me and Maria. I'm excited. Like I said, I love playing her. I look forward to it."

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The women's singles final of the Australian Open is set to begin at 7.30 pm local time (2 pm IST, 8.30 am GMT, 3.30 am ET) with live coverage in India on Sony Six and Sony Six HD. The match can also be watched by viewers in India via live streaming online on

Viewers in the UK can catch all the action on BBC, with the option to live stream on BBC IPlayer.

International viewers, including the US, can live stream the match on the Australian Open Website.

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