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Then there were two: Day 12 preview

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Originally published on: 02/07/11 12:26

The women’s draw so far has been as predictable as a London bus service, but Sharapova will be hoping to live up to her tag as favourite when she goes in search of her second title at the All England Club.

The seven-year gap between appearing in her first Wimbledon final and her second is the longest by any player in the open era and a win today would see her climb to No.3 in the world rankings.

The Florida-based Russian, who also boasts Grand Slam titles in Melbourne and Flushing Meadows, has been hampered with injuries throughout her career and shoulder surgery a few years back debilitated her most potent weapon – the serve. Sharapova has gradually changed her service technique since and she will be hoping to avoid a repeat of her 13 double faults she hit in the semi-finals against Sabine Lisicki.

The biggest threat to Sharapova in today’s game will likely be Kvitova’s big left-handed slice serve into the Russian’s backhand. The closest match Maria has played in this Championship was against Britain’s Laura Robson, another left-hander, so Kvitova will be looking to exploit this advantage.

Sharapova hasn’t dropped a set so far this tournament and with a 32-7 win-loss record on the season, the 24-year-old will fancy her chances against a Czech player making her first appearance at this stage.

Kvitova’s idol growing up was 18-time Grand Slam winner Martina Navratilova and the former champ looked on as her compatriot saw off Victoria Azarenka in the previous round.

The 21-year-old has played with the confidence and aura of a champion in the last two weeks and her 42-8 record on the season proves why. The Czech player, who trains at the same club as last year’s finalist Tomas Berdych, dismissed the argument that she has nothing to lose in her first Slam final and said winning will be the only thought on her mind when she takes to the court.

Today’s match-up of the big hitters is a difficult one to predict, but isn’t that what we have loved about the women’s draw so far? Expect the unexpected in the contest for the coveted Venus Rosewater Dish.

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