Wimbledon, United Kingdom
With renewed confidence and a draw left without any of top four-ranked players in the world, former No. 1 Russian Maria Sharapova will be bidding to capture her second Wimbledon crown against rising Czech slugger Petra Kvitova in Saturday's ladies finale.
The three-time major champ and pre-tournament favorite Sharapova, who captured a Wimbledon title back in 2004, blitzed past German wild card Sabine Lisicki 6-4, 6-3, in the semifinals of the 2011 Wimbledon tournament Thursday.
It marked the second consecutive final four appearance in a Grand Slam for the fifth-seeded Sharapova, whose 2011 season is considered by many as a career revival after disappointing campaigns in 2009 and 2010, which were plagued by injuries and struggles in maintaining her form.
It was also Sharapova's first Wimbledon semifinal appearance in five years
The 24-year-old Russian beauty entered her 12th career major semifinal Thursday without having dropped a single set at the All England Club.
In Day 10's first semifinal, Kvitova completely outplayed fellow 21-year-old Victoria Azarenka en route to a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 upset of the fourth-seeded Belarusian.
The eighth-seeded Kvitova, who was playing her second straight Wimbledon semifinal, unleashed nine aces and broke Azarenka four times to reach her first career Grand Slam final.
She also registered 40 winners against the nine made by her Belarusian counterpart.
Kvitova, a runner-up at the Wimbledon tuneup at Eastbourne two weeks ago, will appear in her seventh career final. She has already won three titles on the WTA this year.
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