The top two seeds will meet in the 2015 Australian Open final, after No. 1 Serena Williams and No. 2 Maria Sharapova prevailed in semifinal action on Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.
Down a break in the first set, Williams rebounded to beat 19-year-old upstart Madison Keys 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, reaching her first Australian Open final since winning the tournament in 2010. Williams, a five-time winner of the Australian Open (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010), has 18 grand slam singles titles in her career.
Williams ended the impressive run for Keys, who advanced past the third round in a grand slam for the first time in her career. Keys, under the tutelage of new coach Lindsay Davenport -- who lost to Williams in the 2005 Australian Open final 10 years ago to the day -- beat No. 4 Petra Kvitova in straight sets in the third round and then, despite a leg injury, beat No. 18 Venus Williams in three sets in the quarterfinals.
Keys fought off eight match points in the second set before finally succumbing.
Sharapova beat No. 10 seed and fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-2 in Thursday's first semifinal action, on Wednesday evening Eastern time.
It is the first Australian Open final since 2012 for Sharapova, who is seeking her sixth grand slam title. She won the crown down under in 2008.