"I just feel like I love playing her. I love seeing her on the opposite side, because she just brings out a good game,” Serena told reporters. "I just like the challenge of playing someone who has made history and who is doing so well. I just want to play well against a great player.”
Williams said Sharapova's continuous improvement is inspiring.
“Hopefully I can be able to do the same,” said Williams, who has beaten Sharapova 10 straight times and has won 13 consecutive sets against her.
Sharapova said she was encouraged by her recent losses to Serena, which came in the final of the 2012 WTA Championships (a 6-4, 6-3 win for Williams) and last month's Doha semifinals (a 6-3, 6-2 win for Serena).
“I think it was one break in each set or maybe one or two,” Sharapova said. “She's a tremendous athlete, has so much power, and a confidence player, as well. So if you have a few easy games where you're not stepping in, not playing the way you should be, she takes really good advantage of it.”