Not one to forgive and forget, Maria Sharapova is seeking Australian Open payback after confirming a US Open semi-final grudge match with world No.1 Victoria Azarenka.
Sharapova returned to Flushing Meadows on Thursday to complete a 3-6 6-3 6-4 quarter-final comeback win over 11th seed Marion Bartoli after trailing the Frenchwoman 4-0 and 30-15 when rain forced an overnight suspension.
As if on a mission, steely-eyed Sharapova wasted no time celebrating her 12th consecutive three-set triumph before taking aim at Azarenka for inflicting a humiliating defeat on her at Melbourne Park in January.
Azarenka belted the Russian 6-3 6-0 in the final of the season's opening grand slam and Sharapova made it clear that not even a 6-1 6-4 return beating of the Belarusian in Stuttgart in May was redemption enough.
"It's always tough to lose in that final stage of a grand slam. She beat me in Australia quite easily and I would love to get my revenge at a grand slam," Sharapova said.
Easier said than done, though.
Despite getting one back in Stuttgart, Sharapova still trails Azarenka 5-4 in their career series and acknowledged the challenge that lay ahead on Friday.
"She's had such a solid year this year, kind of her breakthrough in terms of winning the grand slam, being so solid, so consistent, being No.1 in the world for the first time," said Sharapova, who occupied top spot herself briefly after completing a rare grand slam set at Roland Garros in June.
Azarenka was on top of her game in her thrilling quarter-final victory over defending champion Samantha Stosur, but Sharapova believes she can expose chinks in the top seed's armour.
"There's not a lot I'd talk openly about," she said.
"She's a great returner, so you have to serve pretty good. She's aggressive. If you give her a good first ball, she likes to take advantage of that.
"She's been playing great tennis. I'm in the semi-finals for the first time since '06, so this is a great opportunity for the both of us."
An opportunity, in all likelihood, to try to stop the Serena Williams express.
The 14-times major champion - who owns dominant winning records over both her prospective final foes - ruined Ana Ivanovic's first grand slam quarter-final in four years with a 6-1 6-3 thumping of the Serb.
But while Williams' win was but a formality, Sharapova's was anything but after handing Bartoli a big start.
"It's not always a good feeling to come into a match to knowing that you're down 0-4," Sharapova said.
"It was a tough position to be in, but I'm just so thrilled to be in the semis here."
Sharapova last lost a three-setter 12 months ago, in New York to Flavia Pennetta.
"It's a great statistic," Sharapova said. "It shows that I enjoy the battle."
Azarenka acknowledged as much too.
"Maria is always one of these players that she will give it all no matter what the score is," the Belarusian said.
"She's always fighting and she's really tough mentally. It's going to be tough match no matter what. What do you expect differently in the semi-final of a grand slam?"