Serena defeats Keys, to play for AusOpen title against Sharapova
MELBOURNE -- No. 1 seed Serena Williams defeated 19-year-old Madison Keys 7-6 (5), 6-2 in the Australian Open women's semifinals on Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on Thursday to set up a showdown for the title against Maria Sharapova on Saturday.
Serena withstood the powerful onslaught from the big-hitting youngster, who fired 27 winners to Serena's 19 in the match. The first set was a high-quality serving display, as Keys jumped out to a quick lead after breaking Serena in the first game, but the veteran out-steadied Keys down the stretch to reel her back in to take the set in a tiebreak. Serena looked to be racing away with the second set en route to her sixth Australian Open final, but the best game of the match came in the seventh game of the second set. Serving at 1-5 down, Keys saved seven match points to hold in an 11-minute game to force Serena to serve out the match. In all, Serena needed nine match points to finally close it out after 84 minutes, booking her spot in the final with her 13th ace of the day.
See SI.com's minute-by-minute analysis and updates from the entire match: