Maria Sharapova To Meet Petra Kvitova In Final

Wimbledon 2011
By Hiland Doolittle, July 1st, 2011

Maria Sharapova is at the place where her memorable career caught fire when the 6’1” blonde bombshell surprised the world at 17 years old to win her first Grand Slam. Sharapova is playing with passion and poise as she continues her 2011 comeback. The Russian has now won 16 of her last 17 matches and has been focused on this title since the first day of the season.

Maria Sharapova Celebrates Her Semi Final Victory At Wimbledon 2011

Maria Sharapova Celebrates Her Semi Final Victory At Wimbledon 2011

Sharapova has had difficulty recovering from painful shoulder injuries. Her serve is always the question but Maria has worked hard to develop a reliable and fluid service and the results are paying dividends, big dividends.

Sharapova started slowly against the first German to make the semifinals of a Grand Slam in 12 tears. Sabine Lisicki, the Cinderella of Wimbledon 2011, came from nowhere to surprise 3rd seed Li Na and then take out the 9th seed Marion Bartoli. Lisicki has regained her reputation as one of the top servers in the women’s game.

Lisicki got out of the gates in style, racing to a break and a hold to jump ahead 3-0. Sharapova looked out of sync and surprised by Sabine’s power. Gradually, Maria adjusted to the pace and began landing first serves, neutralizing Lisicki’s big forehand by moving her across the court laterally. Lisicki had trouble making shots from the corners.

By the end of the match, Sharapova looked very much the 24-year old mature player that she is. Lisicki looked very much the 21-year old unproven talent that she is.

Surprisingly Lisicki did not register one ace in the 87 minute 6-4, 6-3 Sharapova triumph. More importantly Sabine only landed 55 percent of her first serves. To add to the service problem, Sharapova won 65 percent of Lisicki’s second serves. The German had 50 winners against Bartoli but only registered 18 against Maria.

Sabine converted 3 of 6 break opportunities while Sharapova converted 6 of 10 opportunities. Sabine’s second serve was at the pace of Maria’s first serve but the Russian dominated the return game.

Petra Kvitova (8) over Victoria Azarenka (4)

Rarely has Wimbledon seen such large swings of momentum as played out when eighth seeded Petra Kvitova challenged fourth seeded Victoria Azarenka. When all was said and done, Kvitova established herself as an elite player with top five potential and a very real chance to claim the Wimbledon title.

In perhaps the biggest match on her record, the 21-year lefty from Czechoslovakia came through with flying colors. After taking the first set in 27 minutes with a powerful all-court presence, it looked like the Czech would advance easily.

Azarenka has come from behind before. After the first set, she immediately changed the momentum. Victoria surged to a 3-0 lead and made it stand as she pulled even in the second set.

Kvitova reached the semis for the second year in a row by implementing her all court game and serving 9 aces and striking 40 outright winners. To stand tall in the finals against Sharapova, Petra will have to continue her aggressive offense. The formula has served the Czech well as she downed Nadia Petrova and Daniela Hantuchova very easily in rounds three and four. Petra had quietly gone about her business in London and has amassed a very favorable ratio between winners and unforced errors.

The Czech’s left-handed spin has been especially effective. Her wide add court serve was unhittable for Azarenka who often found the ball spinning away from her. Azarenka was very gracious in defeat saying that Kvitova played well and could win against anyone with the style of play she exhibited on Thursday. Petra won 73 percent of her successful first serves, converted 4 of 8 break chances and struck just 14 unforced errors in her one hour forty-seven minute 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 triumph.

This is the Czech first Grand Slam final. Sharapova and Kvitova have met just once in the past. Sharapova won that match and with a win in the finals, she will rise to number 3 in the rankings. This marks a steady rise from the former World Number One.

Maria is 24-years old and is listed at 6’2”. Petra is a rising 21-year old star with a brilliant future ahead of her. The 6’ Kvitova showed the fire that it will take tom overcome Sharapova. If Azarenka’s groaning shots did not bother her, she can probably adjust to Sharapova’s squeal.

Kvitova knows how to win. She has climbed the rankings with a 36-8 record and three 2011 titles to her credit. Sharapova has won once. Both players have now won more than $1.5 million.

In Saturday’s finals, there promises to be plenty of competitiveness. We think Kvitova will get the job done and that Maria will have difficulty adjusting to the left-handers spin.


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