Welcome to Wimbledon Flashbacks, where wtatennis.com will take a look back at some of the most memorable narratives from The Championships over the past 20 years.

For more classic moments, check out our other Wimbledon Flashbacks:
1999: Qualifier Dokic dispatches top seed Hingis in first-round stunner
1999: Stevenson topples Raymond in all-American 1999 thriller
2003: Navratilova shows her class at 46 to win title 20 alongside Paes
2005: Venus, Davenport contest classic clash in enthralling 2005 final
2006: Mauresmo shows her mettle to defeat Henin and win Wimbledon
2007: Bartoli breaks through to the bigtime with stunning Wimbledon upset
2009: Safina, Mauresmo christen Centre Court roof with Manic Monday epic
2010: Pironkova overcomes 'impossible,' doubles up on Wimbledon magic
2012: Immaculate Shvedova unlocks historic Golden Set

2013: Lisicki's upset streak peaks during run to 2013 Wimbledon final
2015: Hingis, Mirza dominate at Wimbledon in historic triumph
2017: Returning Rybarikova stuns Pliskova in 2017 Cinderella run
2019: From qualifying to Centre Court, Gauff's star rises at SW19

THE MOMENT: It's one of the most often-told stories in the Open Era: Maria Sharapova wins Wimbledon at 17.

The Russian, who emigrated from Siberia to Florida a decade prior, fulfills her destiny by barreling into her first Grand Slam final as the No.13 seed, outlasting former World No.1 Lindsay Davenport in a rain-interrupted semifinal, booking a championship match with top seed Serena Williams. 

Williams was in search of a third straight Wimbledon crown, and her first major title since a knee injury ended the 2003 season, a season that had begun with the first of two Non-Calendar Year "Serena" Slams. She, too, rallied from a set down in the semis, surviving future Wimbledon champion Amélie Mauresmo in a 6-4 final set.

Sharapova last played Williams at the Miami Open, where the American triumphed in straight sets en route to the title, but had begun her rise up the WTA rankings in earnest later that spring, reaching her first major quarterfinal at Roland Garros and her first title of the season on grass in Birmingham.

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The youngster drove an 11-match winning streak into the Wimbledon final, and even against the game's best, was not lacking for confidence. At 17, Sharapova was unhampered by the shoulder injuries that would soon plague her, and could go for each serve with gusto - often opting for a second "first" serve that Williams struggled to read as the match got underway.

Centre Court witnessed a near-perfect set from Sharapova, who broke serve twice to move within six games of the Venus Rosewater Dish. Williams rebounded in her inimitable fashion, taking a 4-1 lead in the second before the Russian rallied and the two battled through a titanic ninth game.

Williams saved break points and, with a chance to hold for 5-4, seamlessly moved to net only for Sharapova to pull off an an audacious lob. "Usually my lobs suck," the giggling teenager famously told Bud Collins after the match.

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Breaking serve with a short return that left the future 23-time Grand Slam champion off-balance, Sharapova popped in three more powerful serves to reach championship point, securing victory shortly thereafter when a deep forehand forced Williams' reply into the net.

What happened next rounds out that often-told story, the one Sharapova herself recalls in her memoir, Unstoppable: My Life So Far. She drops to her knees, runs into the stands to embrace her team - then led by father Yuri, who had brought his daughter to the United States with just $700 dollars so she might enter a prestigious academy and one day become a champion. She tries to call her mother, who had been prevented from making that first trip to Florida because of visa restrictions, only to be thwarted by poor reception - later signing an endorsement deal with Motorola.

Her resemblance to countrywoman Anna Kournikova made many wonder if she, too, would struggle to win singles titles. Her All England Club victory proved she was not only here to stay, but also, combined with Anastasia Myskina's Roland Garros victory and Svetlana Kuznetsova's US Open win still to come, at the forefront of a Russian revolution.

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THE MEANING: At the time, Kournikova was among the highest-paid sportswomen, outpaced only by the Williams sisters. Once Sharapova took home the Wimbledon trophy, she would become - according to Forbes Magazine - the highest-paid female athlete for eleven consecutive years, setting a new standard for off-court earnings with an enviable portfolio of endorsements.

Her business savvy led her to launch Sugarpova, a premium candy line, in 2013; a portion of the proceeds support her eponymous Maria Sharapova Foundation.

On the court, she capped off her breakthrough 2004 with a win at the WTA Championships in Los Angeles, and would become the first from her country to ascend to World No.1 the following summer. 


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Victories at the 2006 US Open and 2008 Australian Open showed Sharapova at the peak of her powers; a 2008 shoulder surgery forced the Russian to re-invent herself into the tour's premier clay court specialist with two French Open titles that clinched her a box set of Grand Slam singles trophies.

Undaunted by the defeat, Williams would never lose to Sharapova after 2004, winning a rivalry-defining 2005 Australian Open semifinal where the American saved match points en route to a sixth Grand Slam title. They met again in three more major finals, and Williams won all three in straight sets.

Williams and Sharapova played for the last time at the 2019 US Open, with the Russian announcing her retirement from the sport in February citing persistent injuries

2018 Wimbledon: Maria Sharapova hits the practice courts