(1) Maria Sharapova vs Elina Svitolina
The first semi-final at the Brisbane International promises to be a thriller as number 1 seed Maria Sharapova takes on the determined Ukrainian youngster, Elina Svitolina.
Elina Svitolina produced a spirited fightback to defeat a wayward Angelique Kerber 4-6 7-5 6-3. After winning the first set Kerber quickly raced away to a 3-0 lead in the second set. It seemed as though Angie would run away with the match however Svitolina continued to fight, chasing down every ball.
The youngsters efforts would eventually be rewarded as a frustrated Angelique Kerber started to go for too much, knowing that Svitolina would chase down anything and everything. Despite some nervy moments towards the end of the set, Svitolina would eventually prevail with an extremely lucky drop shot winner. The third top 10 victory for the Ukrainian, her second over Angelique Kerber.
Maria Sharapova's pathway through to the Semi-Finals has been far more straightforward. The number 1 seed backed up her impressive first up rout of Yaroslava Shvedova with a commanding 6-1 6-3 victory over Carla Suarez Navarro on Thursday. After a somewhat wayward beginning to the match, Maria knuckled down and completely dominated the match.
These two have met on just one previous occasion, Maria prevailed in straight sets 6-2 6-2 in Wuhan late last year.
Svitolina has played so well this week but she will need to play even better if she is to cause an upset here. If Svitolina serves well and keeps her first serve percentage up, she is certainly a chance. However, ultimately Maria will probably overpower her younger opponent.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova to defeat Elina Svitolina in straight sets