Sharapova could meet Serena Williams in Australian Open final

World number two Maria Sharapova is heavily odds-on with Coral at 1/4 to beat Ekaterina Makarova and progress to the women’s singles final at the Australian Open.

The Russian has a 100 per cent record over her opponent, beating her on all five occasions. Sharapova’s chances of being crowned the world number one are still alive, though she needs to win this Grand Slam event, and hope that Serena Williams loses in her semi-final.

No matter what happens though, Makarova will return to the top 10 in the WTA rankings, having reached the last four of the competition.

Sharapova, who beat Eugenie Bouchard in the quarters, eluded to her ability to get herself out of trouble with her serving game, and she will be confident of having enough in her locker against Makarova.

“I thought I had a really good start,” Sharapova said. “I kept my focus throughout the whole match. I didn’t feel that I had too many letdowns, which is important. When I did have a few slips I was able to come out with great first serves or really powerful returns.”

The odds seem stacked in Sharapova’s favour. Not only is she odds-on to reach the final, but she is also to do so in straight sets, priced at 4/6. Makarova, meanwhile, is 9/4 to nick the first set and shouldn’t be under-estimated, having beaten third seed Simona Halep in the last round.

In the other semi, Williams is massively odds-on at 1/7 to beat Madison Keys, who is ranked number 35 in the world currently. It is a remarkable achievement from the unseeded 19-year-old, who knocked out Williams senior and former world number one Venus over three sets in the last round.

Keys is expected to take the game to Williams, and won’t make it easy for her, though odds to take the first set at 3/1 are good value. The two have never previously met before, so this makes for an interesting match-up.