Sharapova has not dropped a set in two weeks at the Australian Open and has lost only eight games in
her last two matches. In the second round Sharapova surprised her critics by defeating former world
number one Lindsay Davenport of the USA 6-1, 6-3.
The Russian posted two more equally impressive wins
in the quarterfinals and semifinals defeating top seeded Justine Henin of Belgium 6-4, 6-0 and third
seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-1 respectively.
Sharapova at 6' 2" tall at Melbourne is using her height to generate her most powerful groundstrokes
seen since Wimbledon 2004.
Standing in her way will be Ana Ivanovic who is 8-1 this year, which includes a stunning quarterfinal
Melbourne upset of 2007 Wimbledon champion Venus Williams of America 7-6(7-3), 6-4. Ivanovic also showed
her fighting spirit with a combeback win over 9th seeded Czech Daniela Hantuchova 0-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Hantuchova after the match extended an icy handshake to Ivanovic due to what she felt was gamesmanship
from Ivanovic during the match. Ivanovic's movement of her feet during preparation to return serves
oftentimes produced loud shoe squeaks on the tennis court which Hantuchova said were bothersome and unneccesary.
Head to head Sharapova is tied with Ivanovic 2-2 with Sharapova winning their last meeting 6-1, 6-2 at last
year's WTA Tour Championships.
Ivanovic must play her best tennis to stop Sharapova who is playing in devistating
form. Ivanovic must also hope Maria will lower her level of play to allow her to attack and control more of the
match. But if current form holds and Sharapova can continue to serve well, she should claim her third grand slam
title in straight sets.