BRISBANE, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Perhaps unsurprisingly, Serena Williams has a clear memory of the moment her on-court rivalry with Maria Sharapova swung in her favour, leading to one-way domination for the last eight years.
After losing to Williams in their first meeting in Miami in 2004, the Russian went on win finals against the American at Wimbledon, claiming her first grand slam title, and in the Tour Championships of that year.
Then, in an epic 2005 Australian Open semi-finals clash, Sharapova had three match points.
”I remember a forehand inside out,“ Williams said. ”I was down match point and I hit this winner and I didn’t even blink.
“I hit the a winner and walked right to the other side and was ready for the next return as if it was just a 30-15 point.”
Williams went on to win the match 2-6 7-5 8-6 and since then has improved their head-to-head record to 14-2 in her favour.
These wins have included the finals of the 2007 Australian Open, 2012 Olympics and the last time they met at Roland Garros seven month ago.
Sharapova claimed to have no memory of the match at Rod Laver Arena eight years ago.
“2005? Oh, my God, I can’t go back that far,” Sharapova said.
”I don’t have too much time to look back at ‘04. I have a lot of things going on in my life.
”Some of the matches were a bit closer than others. When you go out on the court in a new time, you can’t really rely on everything that happened in the past. You’ve got to start from scratch from the first point.
“Of course I know I’ve tried and I didn’t succeed in the last many times that I’ve played her, but I‘m setting up an opportunity to go out there and try to change that, and I‘m going to try to do that.” (Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)