Angelique Kerber is one victory away from winning her first Grand Slam, but in order to achieve it, she will have to overcome one of sport's most fearsome competitors in Serena Williams.
The pair will face off for the Australian Open crown at Rod Laver Arena on Saturday in a clash between two women playing with a commanding sense of confidence.
Kerber has had an excellent tournament to date, dropping only one set in her first round clash against Misaki Doi of Japan.
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The 28-year-old will be aiming to break a 17-year hoodoo; a German female has not won a Grand Slam since Steffi Graf at the French Open in 1999.
She showed great poise to dispatch Victoria Azarenka at the last eight stage before ending Johanna Konta's spectacular run in the semi-finals with a minimum of fuss.
Kerber, whose form will provide a huge boost heading into the biggest match of her career, feels she can step onto the court without the burden of having something to prove.
“Right now I don’t have any pressure any more. I have shown myself that I’m one of the best players in the world which I am proud of,” she said.
Williams in hot form
On the other side of the net will be Williams, who is aiming to win her seventh Australian Open.
A win over Kerber will move her alongside Graf on 22 Grand Slam victories and two away from the overall record held by 24-time champion Australian Margaret Court, but Williams is not allowing herself to be distracted.
“I block it out. I was one off last year too (before the US Open). It took me forever to get to 18 (Grand Slam Victories) and draw level with Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.
“I was so stressed out and don’t want to relive all that."
Despite not losing a set in Melbourne so far and looking awesome in the semi-final against Agnieszka Radwanska, Williams is wary of Kerber's quality.
“She took out a really tough opponent in Victoria (Azarenka). Being a lefty helps her as well and I haven’t played any so far in the tournament," the 34-year-old said.
“It’s definitely not going to be easy."
History favours Williams
Williams and Kerber have met on six previous occasions on the WTA tour, their last clash going the way of the American in the final of the Stanford Open in 2014.
Kerber has come out on top in only one of their encounters, which was at the Cincinnati Masters in 2012, whereas Williams has won the other five affairs in straight sets.
Grand Slam finals are always intriguing battles. It is usually clear early on whether a player is suffering from a bout of nerves or full of confidence.
Williams is a seasoned veteran when it comes to performing on the big stage, but it will be fascinating to see whether Kerber is up to the task.
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