One of the top rivalries of the past decade in women’s tennis will write the latest chapter in its storied tale, as top seed Serena Williams and 2004 champion Maria Sharapova cross paths once again to determine who will leave on Wednesday one step closer to being a Grand Slam champion. Of their 19 previous meetings on the tour, Williams dominates the head-to-head series against Sharapova 17-2, and holds a 16-match win streak against her Russian adversary. However, it should be noted that this is the first time that Sharapova will face Williams on grass since her fateful upset of Williams back in 2004 to win the Wimbledon title at age 17.
Once again, Serena Williams was forced to rally from a set down to dispatch the inspired Victoria Azarenka and arrive at the semi-final stage of the Wimbledon Championships. It was a phenomenal match, one that featured high quality play throughout the match before Williams found the 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory. She will next come up against her old rival Sharapova.
“I love playing Maria. I think she brings out the best in me, and I think I bring out the best in her,” Williams said. “We had a wonderful final in Australia. It was very entertaining. She played really well.
“For me, I don’t feel like I have any pressure going into this match. We both lost early here last year. We’re both kind of enjoying this moment and at the end of the day one of us will be in the final.”
Although things appeared to be smooth sailing for the first portion of the match, Maria Sharapova found herself in a third set against Coco Vandeweghe. She eventually downed the American 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-2.
“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.
This marks the 20th time that Williams and Sharapova will cross paths on the professional tour, with Williams leading the series with a dominant 17-2 record, as well as 16 consecutive victories dating back almost a decade. Sharapova is capable of toppling her biggest adversary, but it is more a matter of self-belief than it is about her physical inability to overcome the 20-time Grand Slam champion. Yet to add to the intrigue, it should be noted that this is the first time that Sharapova will face Williams on grass since her fateful upset of Williams back in 2004 to win the Wimbledon title at age 17. This will likely be a match that goes three sets, but it is hard to imagine Sharapova edging out Williams on this very stage.
Prediction: Serena Williams in Three Sets
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