The line-up for the women’s 2015 Australian Open tennis final has turned out as many expected with Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams both making it to Saturday’s showdown in Melbourne. However, it was not an easy ride for world No. 1 Williams who had to overcome some challenging moments on her way to this year’s final.

After coming back from a set down against the young Spaniard Garbine Muguruza and then winning a tough opening set against 19-year-old Madison Keys from the USA, William’s proved that she still has the determination and talent to remain at the top. These matches also gave us another welcome glimpse at the future stars of women’s tennis.

It was no surprise when Williams delivered a big serve to win the vital point in the opening set tiebreaker against Keys. This was a match that saw serving of the highest order from both sides of the net and the 18-time Grand Slam winner was clearly rattled by her opponent early on.

As well as having to contend with some tough matches, Williams has also had to overcome a cold on her way to her first Aussie final appearance in 5 years. She has never lost a final here and the tough workout may be just the preparation she needs to take her closest rival and world No. 2 Sharapova.

The Russian had a slightly more comfortable journey to the final – with the exception of a second-round scare against Panova – and is playing some her best tennis in months, but a 15-match losing streak against the American will be looming in the back of her mind. It has also been seven years since her last triumph at Melbourne Park and she struggled to compete in her last appearance at the finals against Azarenka in 2012. However, Sharapova looks sharper and more focused than ever and despite her 13 years as a professional, she is just reaching her prime at 27 years of age.

This will be the first time in 10 years that the top two seeds have met in the women’s Australian Open final. It is also more than 10 years since Sharapova last beat Williams. So who will take the season’s first Grand Slam crown on Saturday?

The bookmakers have Williams as odds-on favourite and it hard to make a case against the American. However, her pre-tournament form was not great and she has looked vulnerable at times during the last two weeks. Sharapova recovered from being a match-point down in round two but has not put a foot wrong since. This is probably her best chance in years for our pre-tournament pick to beat Serena.

If you followed our lead and placed 1 unit on Sharapova at 11/2 (6.5) before the tournament started; you could now place 5 units on Williams at 2/5 (1.4) to guarantee a profit.

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