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Sports News
Resurgent Williams targets title 1/26/2007
Serena Williams hopes to cap a dream comeback from injury on Saturday by taking third Australian Open title.
The unseeded American, champion in 2003 and 2005, faces top seed Maria Sharapova in the final at 0230 GMT.

"To get to the final rates really high in my list of achievements," said Williams, who came into the tournament ranked 81st in the world.

"If I play well, which I don''t think I''ve even reached in this tournament, it''s hard for anyone to beat me."


Williams has already guaranteed she will return to the top 20 by reaching the final.

The 25-year-old played only 16 matches last season because of a knee injury but she says she is not surprised by her form in Melbourne.

She has nothing to lose - those are always dangerous opponents

Sharapova on Williams

"I wouldn''t say for me it''s an astonishing achievement. I would say I am happy more than anything," she said.

"It''s not astonishing or surprising. It''s definitely something I have always expected."

Williams, who has survived difficult encounters with Nadia Petrova, Shahar Peer and Nicole Vaidisova, can expect her toughest test yet against top seed Sharapova.

The Russian, who will be confirmed as world number one once the tournament is over, is seeking her second Grand Slam title in a row after winning the US Open in September.

"I''m going to be playing against a player that didn''t really expect too much coming into this tournament. She''s playing some really good tennis," said Sharapova.

"I think she has nothing to lose going into the match. Those are always dangerous opponents."

The pair are tied at 2-2 in head-to-head meetings.

Williams won their last encounter - an epic semi-final encounter in Melbourne two years ago that saw Sharapova miss four match points.

But Sharapova said that would have no bearing on Saturday''s final.

"It was just a loss in my career, just one match that I lost," she said.

"I had the opportunities to be in another Grand Slam final. I didn''t take them. I''ve had wins against her. I''ve had losses against her. That was just a loss."

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