Brisbane, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) - Former world No. 1s Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic will do battle in Saturday's final at the season- opening $1 million Brisbane International tennis event.
The final berths were secured when the top-seeded Sharapova defeated rising Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-3 and the second-seeded Ivanovic held off game American Varvara Lepchenko 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 at this Australian Open tune-up on the hardcourts at Queensland Tennis Centre.
Sharapova dropped just nine games in her three matches to get to the final and was ruthless against Svitolina, the 2010 junior French Open titlist.
"I expected her to play well. I think I did a lot of things good to try to take away her game," Sharapova said.
"In the end, it became a little bit more difficult. She became more free, went for her shots a little bit, a few unforced errors from my end, but overall I'm happy I stuck with it and finished the last point."
When the reigning French Open champion Sharapova and Ivanovic meet on Saturday, it will mark their 14th encounter on the WTA, with the Russian leading the lifetime series 9-4. They split four meetings last season.
Sharapova is 33-22 in her career finals, including a perfect 4-0 mark last year.
Her fellow 27-year-old Ivanovic is 15-7 in her career title tilts, including 4-2 last year.
Sharapova beat Ivanovic in the 2008 Aussie Open final.