Grunt work saw Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova reach the Melbourne Park final on Thursday.
It was an emotional moment as tears stung the cheeks of Azarenka after a 6-4 1-6 6-3 victory over defending champion Kim Clijsters earned the world number three her first grand slam final place.
The 22-year-old came out on top of a bruising baseline battle in the first set, dragging Clijsters from side to side before putting away forehand winners deep in the corners for dream start to just her second grand slam semi-final.
The second set was more akin to a nightmare for the pony-tailed righthander, who got just 35 percent of her first serves in and made 16 unforced errors.
Azarenka, who has been at the mercy of her emotions throughout her career, showed impressive composure to gather herself and put Clijsters on the back foot in the third set, wrapping up the semi-final in two hours, 12 minutes.
Maria Sharapova today revealed how she feared injury may have ended her career after her revival took another step forward when she reached the Oz Open final.
The Russian former champion proved she was firmly back among the best with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 over Petra Kvitova, avenging her defeat to the Czech in last year's Wimbledon final.
"It means so much to be back in a grand slam final, a stage I have been to before a few years ago here," an elated Sharapova said, adding that it showed she could once again compete at the highest level after shoulder surgery in 2008 and a series of later injuries.