Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic march on to set up final in Brisbane

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NEW YORK. KAZINFORM Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic won their semi-finals at the Brisbane International on Friday to set up an intriguing showdown in the lead-up to this month's Australian Open.

Sharapova beat the talented Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-3 to reach the final without dropping a set while Ivanovic battled her way to a 7-6, 6-4 win over the American Varvara Lepchenko, the Guardian reports. Sharapova beat Ivanovic in the 2008 Australian Open final and both women are in inspired form heading towards the first grand slam of the season, starting in Melbourne on 19 January. Sharapova has dropped only nine games in three matches to get to the final and showed no mercy against Svitolina, a rising star who won the 2010 junior French Open, as she reached her 56th WTA final. "I expected her to play well. I think I did a lot of things good to try to take away her game," Sharapova said. "In the end, it became a little bit more difficult. She became more free, went for her shots a little bit, a few unforced errors from my end, but overall I'm happy I stuck with it and finished the last point."

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