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Published: Thursday January 17, 2013 MYT 1:34:00 PM
Updated: Thursday January 17, 2013 MYT 2:33:29 PM

Serena to help Venus in Sharapova showdown

MELBOURNE: Serena Williams has beaten Maria Sharapova in all of their last nine meetings and plans to pass on key tips to big sister Venus ahead of her Australian Open clash with the Russian on Friday.

Venus is still on the comeback trail from injury and illness and will need all the assistance she can get in her third round match with the world number two. Serena said Thursday she was ready to help.

"It will be a big match. I think Venus obviously has nothing to lose, and she will play great tennis. She will do her best," she said of her sister, who hasn't won a Grand Slam since Wimbledon in 2008.

No one is better placed to give advice than Serena on how to tackle the second seed, with nine straight wins against her since 2005, and 10 overall in their 12 career meetings.

Asked if she would be giving Venus tips, she replied: "Yeah, obviously I will, but, you know, at the end of the day, she will be fine.

"She's been playing tennis a really long time and she's a fabulous player. She will do good."

Venus has faced Sharapova seven times stretching back to 2004, and has only won three of the encounters - the last at Stanford in 2009. She admits she has her work cut out.

"I'm not really expecting anything too different. Just a high intensity level," she said of the match.

"I don't think I'm really going into it with a different mentality except really focusing on what I'm doing with the ball.

"That's pretty much it," she added.

Sharapova, the 2008 Australian champion, said there were no secrets heading into the clash.

"We've played against each other many times," she said.

"Despite the fact that she might not be seeded high or didn't play for a little bit, she's still a very experienced player and a tremendous athlete.

"Going out there, there won't be too many secrets. I hope for it to be a great match." -AFP

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