Vandeweghe was having the tournament of her life - she took out three seeds en route to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, including the No.6 seed, Lucie Safarova, the biggest win of her career.
And she left it all out there in this match too - after falling behind, 6-3, 5-3, she dug the second set out in a tie-break, and after falling behind 3-0 in the third she broke back to get the set back on serve.
But the No.4-seeded Sharapova was just too focused, taking the momentum back straight away and reeling off the last three games to finish it off after two hours and 45 minutes, 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-2.
"I've played five matches already, I've faced different challenges, matches, opponents, circumstances - the first four matches I was playing quite well and got the job done in two sets," Sharapova said.
"Today, serving for the second set, I could have made it easier. It went to a third, but I still got the job done. I have to be pleased with that, that I'm in the semifinals again here after so many years."
It's Sharapova's first semifinal here since reaching the 2011 final, where she fell to Petra Kvitova.
"It's a special feeling," she said. "I had a really tough match last year against Kerber. Everyone looks at results, but I really felt like although I lost in the fourth round, my game on grass had really improved. I really felt confident. It was tough, because I felt a few points could have changed things around, and from then on you really never know how things will evolve and what chances you might have.
"Overall I'm happy I was able to take that loss and move up a few steps further this year."
Sharapova's last title here was an even longer time ago, in 2004, her first Grand Slam title.
"I haven't seen the names on the trophy in a while because I haven't held the trophy in many years. I've only seen it on the board. I know it's there, but I'd love to see it again to make sure it's still there!
"Obviously being a small part of its history is an incredible feeling. It's something that I'll be able to cherish for the rest of my life - to be able to tell my future children that mommy won Wimbledon, I have proof. It's on the trophy. It's an incredible achievement. As you go about your tennis career, you don't always realize your accomplishments because you're so busy, and you're just always thinking about the next one, the next event, just trying to do something better and keep going. You never have the time to slow down and really appreciate all of your accomplishments, even as a young teenage girl.
"So I think I'll really be able to share those memories with my kids with I'm older."