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Sharapova ‘thrilled’ to be back in SW19 final

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Originally published on: 01/07/11 09:36

Maria Sharapova admitted she is thrilled to be back in the Wimbledon final for the first time since she won the tournament as a 17 year old.

The 24-year-old Russian, who defeated Germany’s Sabine Lisicki 6-4 6-3 for a place in her second career Wimbledon final, has defied her critics – not to mention shoulder surgery – and has every intention of putting a difficult few years behind her and seizing her opportunity come ladies’ finals day on Saturday.

“I hadn’t been past the fourth round in a few years, but to be at this stage, I’m just thrilled to have the opportunity to go for it,” said the former world No.1, before looking back on her first Grand Slam final at SW19 in 2004.

“I remember that I was so thrilled to be in the final,” she recollected. “I was down and out in the semis. I was ready to pack my bags and go home. It just happened to rain and I was able to change things around. It was my first Grand Slam final, my first Grand Slam semi-final.

“You don’t know what to expect and you almost have that feeling of nothing to lose and you go for it,” added the Russian of her battle against Serena Williams. “That’s what I did when I was here at 17 years old. I really didn’t know what was going to happen. I knew that I was facing a really good opponent that’s done well on grass, a former champion.”

Sharapova will aim to replicate the feeling she had in the 2004 final in order to drive her to success and claim Grand Slam No.4, but knows that rising star Petra Kvitova is more than capable of inflicting the very same surprise on her.

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