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Serena Williams smashes past Maria Sharapova

WINNER: Serena Williams celebrates beating Maria Sharapova at the Brisbane International semi-finals on Jan 3 (PA)

SEVENTEEN-TIME GRAND slam winner Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova in straight sets to reach the final of the Brisbane International in Australia.

The 32-year-old American court queen won her 14th straight match against the Russian with a 6-2 7-6(9-7) victory.

Winning against the four-time grand slam champion will be sweet for Williams, considering the pair’s well-documented comments about each other’s personal lives that brought a sense of ill-feeling between them.

Williams dominated the first set, but Sharapova gave her something to think about in the second, taking it right down to the wire for it to be settled in a 9-7 tie-break, which went the American’s way.

Williams will now face Victoria Azarenka in the final, after the Belarusian star beat ex-world number one Jelena Jankovic in three sets.

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