Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will renew their 15-year (un)rivalry when they meet in the first round of the US Open on Monday. Williams, chasing a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title, has a 19-2 record against the Russian and has won their last 18 encounters in a row. Ahead of their first meeting at the Flushing Meadows, take a look at their top-five matches between the two.
2004 - Wimbledon final
Sharapova won 6-4, 6-1
Sharapova announced herself to the tennis world as a 17-year-old at Wimbledon by thumping defending champion Williams in straight sets to become the third-youngest winner of the title. The Russian claimed in her book 13 years later that she heard her beaten opponent crying in the dressing room afterward, saying she believed that the loss was the motivation for Serena's incredible run of 18 straight wins against her.
2004 - WTA Championships final
Sharapova won 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
Sharapova's second win followed her first when she beat Williams in a bizarre final at the 2004 WTA Championships. The American won the first set 6-4 before she aggravated an abdominal injury mid-way through the second set which Sharapova won 6-2. With her service motion curtailed, everyone expected Sharapova to take the third set and the title at a canter. However, Williams surprised everyone by winning the first four games of the decider. Sharapova managed to gather her wits in time as she won six games on the trot to beat Williams for the second and last time in her career.
2005 - Australian Open semi-finals
Williams won 2-6, 7-5, 8-6
Months after Sharapova's victory at the WTA Tour Championships, the pair squared off at Melbourne in the semi-finals. Sharapova was on course for a third straight win over Williams but choked spectacularly. The Russian was serving for the match in the second set only for Williams to dig deep and force a decider. Sharapova once again had a chance to serve out the match in the third set only to falter once again. Williams, who saved three match points in the match, broke Sharapova in the final game to book her spot in the final. The American beat compatriot Lindsay Davenport in the final to win her first Major since Wimbledon 2003.
2012 - Olympics final
Williams won 6-0, 6-1
After meeting in the final of 2007 Australian Open, the pair met for the first time in a title clash with an Olympic gold medal at stake. Their meeting in the final at the 2012 London Olympics was also their first meeting on grass since Sharapova's 2004 Wimbledon win. If fans were expecting another classic match on grass, Serena dashed those expectations and how! The American dropped just one game in a 63-minute humbling of Sharapova. To add icing to the cake, Williams also became the first player in history to win all four Grand Slam titles and Olympic singles and doubles gold medals.
2015 - Wimbledon semi-final
Williams won 6-2, 6-4
The pair's 20th meeting was another display of Williams' dominance over Sharapova and highlighted the gap in quality between the two players. Williams had come to Wimbledon with the aim of completing a second Serena Slam. The pair had met earlier in the Australian Open final where Williams beat Sharapova in straight sets for her 19th Major. There was added spice in the match with Williams' coach Patrick Mouratoglou saying that Victoria Azarenka was a better player than Sharapova. Williams made short work of her opponent (yet again) to reach the final where she beat Garbine Muguruza for her 20th Grand Slam. That was Sharapova's last semi-final appearance in a Major and she has failed to hit her previous heights after coming back from a doping ban. Williams, on the other hand, added two more Majors to her kitty and is just one title away from equalling Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles.
Updated Date: Aug 26, 2019 14:28:14 IST