Maria Sharapova hasn't been able to solve the Serena Williams puzzle in 12 years. The Russian will hope Tuesday is finally the day she finds the key to beating the American, who will start this women's singles quarterfinal as the heavy favourite.
After a sketchy start in the first round, Serena has been all ruthless business, barely giving her opponents any breathing room. When the 34-year-old is on a roll, there really is nothing anyone can do. Sharapova will know she will need to be at her best and Serena a little under par to stand any chance of going through to the semifinals of the Australian Open.
"You're always trying to -- always trying to improve," Sharapova said when asked about playing Serena. "I got myself into the quarterfinal of a Grand Slam. There is no reason I shouldn't be looking to improve and to getting my game in a better position than any other previous round. It's only going to be tougher, especially against Serena.
"I feel like I need to be aggressive. I'm an aggressive player. But there is a difference between making the wrong errors and making the right errors. Ultimately when the time comes, you have to believe that those errors are just, you know, a few centimetres wide or long that they're going to start going in."
The key to Sharapova beating Serena in the quarterfinals could be the Russian's serve. The No.5 seed has been serving brilliantly in this tournament, with 21 aces sent past her fourth round opponent Belinda Bencic.
"I feel like that's something I have been working on a lot since I had shoulder surgery," Sharapova said of her serve. "I have gone through many different motions to try to find my groove again and something that would hold up over many matches.
"That was something that was really difficult to find a rhythm and a balance between keeping the shoulder, not going back so much, because I'm quite loose, to a motion that kind of gave me the chance to play many matches and feel like I was still not able not to be tired after three, four tough matches.
"So, yeah, I think I have made a little bit of a change last year in the stance, but I think everyone always tries to improve things here and there. It's not that big of a deal. We always look to add those few percentages."
Sharapova will need more than a few percentages to beat Serena, who will go into this final eight match in confident mood.
Where to Watch Live
The Australian Open quarterfinal is scheduled as the second match of the day session on Tuesday. The first match -- Agnieszka Radwanska vs Carla Suarez Navarro -- will begin at 11 am local time (5.30 am IST, 12.30 am GMT). Live coverage of the match in India will be on Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD. The online live streaming option in India is on Sonyliv.
Australia viewers can watch the quarterfinal live on Channel 7, with the live stream option on 7Sport online. Fox Sports will show the women's singles quarterfinal live in South East Asia and South Korea.The Australian Open fourth round can be watched live in the Middle East and North Africa on Bein Sports and Bein Sports Connect.
ESPN and Watch ESPN will broadcast Serena Williams vs Maria Sharapova live in the USA and Canada.