Love playing against the best: Maria Sharapova after her defeat to Serena Williams

Melbourne: Maria Sharapova vowed on Saturday to keep grinding away to break her jinx against Serena Williams, after she was beaten to the Australian Open title by a player who has won all 16 of their last encounters.

Despite being number two in the world, the Russian just cannot beat her bitter rival, with her winless streak going back a decade.

Maria Sharapova

Williams’ powerful serve made the difference on Saturday, with the 33-year-old blasting 18 aces to win her 19th Grand Slam 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) and consolidate her place among the game’ legends.

Coming into the tournament the Russian also had the chance to topple Williams as world number one, but the opportunity also slipped from her grasp.

Competitive spirit
However, Sharapova said she was a fighter and would work hard to keep putting herself in the position to beat the intensely focused American. “Yes, I haven’t won against her many times, but if I’m getting to the stage of competing against someone like Serena, I’m doing something well,” she said.

“I’m setting up a chance to try to beat her and it hasn’t happened. I’m not just going to go home without giving it another chance. “That’s just not who I am and not who I was raised to be. I’m a competitor.

“I love the competition. I love playing against the best, and at the moment she is.”

Sharapova admitted Williams' huge serve — some of them fired down at 200 kph (166 mph) was key to her victory. “That’s one of her biggest strengths, her serve.”

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