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Summary

  1. Williams beats Keys 7-6 (7-5) 6-2
  2. Williams to play Sharapova in the final
  3. Sharapova beat Makarova 6-3 6-2

Live Reporting

By Lawrence Barretto

All times stated are UK

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Tomas Berdych
Getty Images

Right then, that's me done and dusted. Thanks, as ever, for your company. It's been an absolute pleasure.

Don't go too far, mind, as Britain's Andy Murray will be in action shortly. Aimee Lewis will be in the live text hot seat for that one, with his semi-final against Tomas Berdych kicking off at 08:30 GMT.

Until next time, it's good morning from me. Bye!

And news just in, Britain's Laura Robson is targeting a return to the WTA Tour in Indian Wells in March.

The 21-year-old, who has not played for over a year because of a left wrist injury, is on the entry list for the tournament in southern California.

So top seed Serena Williams will play second seed Maria Sharapova in Saturday's final. Williams has won the title five times and never lost a final in Melbourne. Sharapova has won the title once, in 2008, and reached two other finals.

Serena Williams
EPA

Williams has been struggling with a cold the last few days, but the American reports that she is feeling better. "I'm a lot better, every day gets better," she says. "Have a day off tomorrow so hopefully by Saturday I'll have recuperated."

Piers Newbery

BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

Serena Williams and Madison Keys
EPA

"It was a more of a test than the scoreline might suggest but Williams did a superb job of coping with one of the very few players who can match her for power.

"With the pair averaging within 1km per hour of each other on serve, Williams managed to break three times while Keys failed to repeat her break of the very first game.

"The top seed will now take on the second seed with a record that is far more lopsided than their rankings would suggest - Williams leads Sharapova 16-2, with no defeats since 2004."

"She pushed me really hard in the first set and I had to dig deep mentally to get through that," says Williams who will play Maria Sharapova in the final.

"She came up with some great shots every time," adds the American with regards Keys saving seven match points on her serve. "I could have done a little more in terms of being aggressive, but it's a good sign she played so well when she's down - she never ever gave up."

Serena Williams
EPA

"I'm really excited to be in the final again," says Williams, who will contest her sixth Australian Open final. "I didn't come here with that expectation so it's really exciting.

"Madison is obviously a great player, she is going to be winning this tournament and lots of other Grand Slams very soon.

"I'm happy to see her do so well and be such a great sport at the same time."

Williams through to the final

Williams 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 Keys*

"Come on," roars Williams as she recovers from 0-15 to 30-15 with some brilliant serving. But she then takes something off her next effort and Keys takes advantage to level at 30-30.

A real impressive stretching backhand from Williams bring up her eighth match point - first on her own serve - but a blistering return almost knocks Williams off her feet as she tries and fails to get something on it. Deuce.

A ninth match point for Williams now - and she takes it with her 13th ace of the match.

*Williams 7-6 (7-5) 5-2 Keys

Serena Williams
AP

Keys is battling bravely against a Williams onslaught and hangs on when the top seed gets her first match point to force deuce.

Williams conjures up a second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth match point, but Keys has an answer to everyone of them. She then chases down a forehand and whips it down the line for a winner and game point.

This is turning into a lengthy game as we head back to deuce. And deuce again. A seventh match point for Williams now, but Keys saves this one, too, dealing with a classy overhead.

There's a standing ovation as Keys wins the next two points to make Williams serve for the match. Her coach Lindsay Davenport, a former world number one, smiles and applauds from the stands.

Piers Newbery

BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

"Breaking news from the media centre - Lleyton Hewitt says: 'I plan to play the Aussie Open next year and most likely finish there.' It comes as Pat Rafter steps down as Australia Davis Cup captain to be replaced in the interim by Wally Masur, with Hewitt taking over 'when he's ready'. Rafter becomes director of performance for Tennis Australia next month and says he can't fill both roles.'"

Williams 7-6 (7-5) 5-1 Keys*

A love game for Williams and she is now just one away from a place in what will be her sixth Australian Open.

Williams breaks

*Williams 7-6 (7-5) 4-1 Keys

Serena Williams
EPA

Williams has the bit between her teeth right now - she really wants this - and attacks the Keys serve, earning two break points for her trouble.

Keys bravely fights back to deuce, but an error of the forehand and a double fault undoes her hard work. Williams breaks again. It'll be a long way back now for the young American...

Williams 7-6 (7-5) 3-1 Keys*

Williams fires a 120mph serve out wide to seal another service hold. Victory in this match will ensure she will remain at the top of the world rankings.

*Williams 7-6 (7-5) 2-1 Keys

Keys is bidding to become the first teenager to reach a Grand Slam final since Caroline Wozniacki achieved the feat at the 2009 US Open and she keeps herself in with a chance of doing so as she races through her service game to love.

Williams 7-6 (7-5) 2-0 Keys*

Supreme response from 19-year-old Keys, who looks at home on the big stage, as she rustles up two break points. Williams saves the first with an ace and is back to deuce when Keys hits a backhand wide.

Both players have served impressively throughout the match and that continues, Williams hitting her ninth ace to bring up game point. The game is hers when Keys' makes her 25th unforced errors. Williams has made just 11.

Williams breaks

*Williams 7-6 (7-5) 1-0 Keys

Madison Keys
Getty Images

Nightmare for Keys as her forehand deserts her, the American teenager making four successive errors on that flank to hand Williams the break.

Game and first set

Williams 7-6 (7-5) Keys*

Keys goes big with a cross-court forehand but it drifts long and it's three set points for Williams. The unseeded 19-year-old saves the first two with two aces but Williams is jumping for joy as she watches a Keys' return drift long. The top seed wins the first the hard way in 45 minutes.

Tie-break

*Williams 6-6 (3-3) Keys

Williams steps up to the mark in the tie-break, the first both she and Keys have played in this tournament. The American gets the mini-break early on to lead 4-2 at the changeover.

*Williams 6-6 Keys

Serena Williams
Getty Images

Keys races to 40-0 on serve but then gets caught out by the blustery conditions. The young American is unfazed, mind, firing her fifth ace of the match to win the game. Tie-break anyone?

Britwatch

Piers Newbery

BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

"News from court six, where British junior Katie Swan has made it through to the girls' semi-finals. The 15-year-old from Bristol but based in Kansas beat American Raveena Kinglsey 6-4 6-3, with Fed Cup captain Judy Murray watching from courtside. Swan, seeded 14th, will play Hungarian fifth seed Dalma Galfi in the last four."

Williams 6-5 Keys*

Madison Keys
AP

A delicious lob, disguised beautifully, from Williams hauls the American back to 30-30. An 122mph ace - her fastest serve so far - brings up game point but Keys forces deuce with a backhand winner down the line.

But Williams clings on to win the next two points and seal the game. Keys to serve to stay in the set once more.

*Williams 5-5 Keys

Keys finds herself under a bit of pressure as Williams closes to 30-40, but deals with it well, firing an ace to seal the game and level the set.

Williams 5-4 Keys*

Every time Serena Williams has got past the quarter-finals in the Australian Open, she has gone on to win the title. The top seed puts herself into the driving seat to continue that streak with another solid service hold. You get the sense Williams is starting to get into her stride now...

Piers Newbery

BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

"All eyes in the media seats are trained on Keys' heavily strapped left thigh, with the odd murmur that we are starting to see signs of discomfort from the teenager. If she can keep getting that first serve in then she has a chance, having won 91% of the points behind it so far, but miss that and she's in trouble, winning a woeful 17% behind the second serve."

*Williams 4-4 Keys

Impressive response from Keys, the young American putting the disappointing of being broken back behind her with a comfortable service hold.

Williams 4-3 Keys*

Serena Williams
AP

Williams races through her service game to love to move ahead for the first time in the match.

Williams breaks

*Williams 3-3 Keys

Madison Keys has looked like a world-class player for 15 minutes but the American shows her first sign that she can feel that left injury. She winces as she lands on it after a first serve.

Suddenly, she's facing two break points. Williams sends a tricky volley long to miss out on the first but is rewarded with the second as Key's backhand breaks down. Williams breaks.

Williams 2-3 Keys*

A better start from Williams in this service game, the American opening with a winner before cruising to 40-0. Keys hits back in the next two points but then fires wide to concede the game.

*Williams 1-3 Keys

Keys' hitting heavy off both flanks at the moment and her serve is working beautifully, too. The result is another easy service game.

Williams 1-2 Keys*

Williams, who has been struggling with a cold for a few days now, doesn't look to quick on her feet at the moment. But nonetheless, the top seed summons some fine first serves and closes out her service game with an ace to get on the board.

*Williams 0-2 Keys

Keys' left thigh is heavily strapped, the American requiring a medical timeout during her victory over Venus Williams in the previous round. But it doesn't look like it's causing her any problems as she races through her first service game to consolidate the break.

Keys breaks

Williams 0-1 Keys* (*denotes the next to serve)

Madison Keys is playing in her first Grand Slam semi-final - but you wouldn't know that based on her start in this game. The 19-year-old batters the Williams serve early on to carve out an opening at 0-30.

Williams recovers to 30-30 with an ace, but gifts her opponent a break point with a backhand error and then throws in another to concede the game. Keys off to a flier.

Piers Newbery

BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

"Madison Keys steps into the Grand Slam spotlight for real today, but she made her first breakthrough in the more sedate surroundings of Eastbourne last summer. The teenager won her first WTA title at Devonshire Park, the perfect place to get some experience of playing tennis in the wind. It was also where she picked up the thigh injury that forced her to retire at Wimbledon, and resurfaced in her semi-final win over Venus Williams on Tuesday."

The warm-up is over. Serena Williams will be the first to serve. Let's play tennis.

Madison Keys
Reuters

Madison Keys, 19, is going for a rare Williams-Williams double, taking on Serena after beating Venus in the quarter-finals. If she achieves the feat, she will be only the eighth player to beat both Williams sisters at the same tournament.

Right, then. Ready for a second semi-final? Good, because we've got one coming up. After an all-Russian encounter, we have an all-American match-up - top seed Serena Williams v unseeded Madison Keys.

Maria Sharapova
Getty Images

Victory for Sharapova keeps alive her hopes of snatching the number one ranking from Serena Williams. The Russian needs to win the Australian Open and hope Williams loses to Madison Keys.

Piers Newbery

BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

"Coach Sven Groeneveld is up on his feet along with the rest of Team Maria, decked out in blue tops and baseball caps and looking not unlike a patrol of UN peacekeepers. The Dutchman has certainly played a big part in keeping Sharapova at the very top of the sport after serious shoulder problems. 'She's not known for her defence but it's improved so much,' says 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert on ESPN. 'I never thought I'd see the day when Maria Sharapova was flying around the baseline.'"

Game, set and match

Sharapova 6-3 6-1 Makarova

Sharapova races to 40-15 and then watches on as Makarova's backhand lets her down again. The Russian second seed and 2008 Australian Open champion is through to her fourth final at Melbourne Park. She'll play Serena Williams or Madison Keys, who will be on-court shortly in the second semi-final.

*Sharapova 6-3 5-2 Makarova

Makarova scrapes through her service game for only her second hold of the set, but you get the feeling it is only delaying the inevitable. Sharapova to serve for a place in the final.