The stage is set for an Australian Open final featuring the world numbers one and two in Melbourne. Serena Williams was made to work hard for a 7-6 first set win against compatriot Madison Keys in 45 minutes at the Rod Laver Arena. Although the second lasted nearly as long, 39 minutes, there was no stopping the American world number one triumphing 6-2.
Williams served down 13 aces but Keys was competent in that department herself, hitting 12 of her own. Keys even hit more winners than the 33-year old; 27-19. However it was the 18-year old’s unforced errors count that really undid her ambitions of reaching a first major final.
Keys committed no fewer than 39 of these compared to Williams, whose count stood at 16. The five-time Aussie Open champion is through to a dream final against Russia’s Maria Sharapova. Earlier the Russian thrashed countrywoman Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-2.
Sharapova hit 23 winners whereas Makarova managed only 11 in 87 minutes on court. The second seed was not flawless as she committed seven double faults and will not want to repeat that in the final.