The second-best women’s tennis player on the planet, Maria Sharapova, looks pretty good against world No. 1 Serena Williams. On paper, anyway. For starters, at 6’2″ Sharapova is one of the few women on tour who can look Serena in the eye. And though no one is Serena’s superior in sheer athleticism, Sharapova is close–a gifted one-time prodigy in her own right, an athlete of the highest order and a ferocious competitor. Sharapova is also a proven winner–she’s won all four Grand Slam titles–including the French Open twice. Sharapova has won at least one singles title in every year from 2003 to 2015 and a total of 34.
But as the 2015 tennis campaign begins for real at the Australian Open in Melbourne, it’s astonishing to consider that Maria Sharapova hasn’t beaten Serena Williams in 11 years. Sharapova is 2-14 against Serena, having last defeated her rival at the WTA Championships in 2004. Both women are both playing well in Australia. Could the drought come to an end? Announcer Chris Evert recently hinted she thinks it might. Sharapova is 27. Serena Williams is 33.