Wimbledon Final Preview
Published July 01, 2011 11:38
The fact that Sharapova won Wimbledon seven years ago, yet is still only 24, throws her achievement as a 17-year-old into sharp relief (this is also the longest gap between Wimbledon finals appearances in the Open Era). But, given everything the Russian superstar has been through, a win today will possibly mean even more. Having overcome a career threatening shoulder injury, and defied the naysayers who had all but written off her career, the former world No.1 has risen like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes - arguably even better than ever, and glowing with contentment as well.
Experience, then, rests firmly on the three-time Grand Slam champion's side. But Kvitova, in full flight, is an awesome prospect too. Her challenge will be to play as though she has nothing to lose, forgetting that she is gunning to become the first Czech since Jana Novotna to win this title, or indeed any of the Big Four singles crowns, since 1998 (her idol, fellow lefty Martina Navratilova, is sure to be watching from the stands too). If Kvitova is to add to her nation's proud tennis legacy she'll have to get off to a great start, though, because Sharapova hasn't lost a three-setter all season.
Maria says: "I just feel a sense of evolvement. You know, this year I feel like I've grown as a player and I've gotten better. It gives me a lot of confidence moving forward... but it doesn't stop here. That I've reached this level, I'm just so happy and so proud. But I always feel like there's more to improve and things to get better."
Petra says: "Of course I have something to lose on Saturday. Of course, I'm going on the court for the win. I mean, I will have to play my best, for sure. Play for 100% and then I can win. It's good for Maria that she has the experience from 2004, but still this will be a different match, different opponent. It will be me, so we will see."
More to watch...
No.2 seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik have already won through to the doubles final, but they await the winner of the second semi between Sabine Lisicki and Samantha Stosur, against Marina Erakovic and Tamarine Tanasugarn. Held over due to poor light and poised at 5-5 in the third set, this showdown follows the men's doubles final on Centre Court. Meantime, the mixed doubles semis will be played on No.1 Court. Elena Vesnina and Mahesh Bhupathi, the No.4 seeds, face unseeded Hsieh Su-Wei and Paul Hanley, while eighth-seeded Chan Yung-Jan and Daniel Nestor tackle ninth seeds Iveta Benesova and Juergen Melzer.