Maria Sharapova targets rare Serena Williams upset

Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova will step out on Centre Court aiming to block out over a decade of terrible punishment at the hands of Serena Williams when they clash in the Wimbledon semi-finals.

The last time the Russian beat her greatest foe, she was too young to buy a drink to toast the achievement.

Now, at the age 28, Sharapova can reminisce about how she got the better of the American 20-time grand slam winner twice in 2004, when she took the scalp of Williams at Wimbledon and the WTA Tour Championships.

But she knows those matches will be an irrelevance once she and 33-year-old Williams hit the first balls in anger on Thursday.

“There are definitely no secrets between each other’s games,” Sharapova said.

“But I haven’t played Serena here in 11 years. It will be an incredible moment for me to step out on Centre Court against her again.”

Curiously, Sharapova appears to have blanked from her memory two matches the pair have since played at the All England Club.

A tight match went the way of Williams at the last-16 stage of Wimbledon in 2010 and then Sharapova was second best by a shattering 6-0 6-1 scoreline in the London 2012 Olympic Games final.

Sharapova remains a one-time Wimbledon winner, while Williams has taken the trophy five times.

Competing to take on Williams or Sharapova in the final will be Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska and Spain’s first-time grand slam semi-finalist Garbine Muguruza.

Williams defeated Radwanska in the 2012 Wimbledon final and has won all eight of their previous matches, but she lost to Muguruza at the French Open last year and was taken to three sets by the Venezuela-born 21-year-old at this season’s Australian Open.

“She’s super young,” said Williams. “I definitely see her as someone to watch and be careful for because she knows how to play. I think this is probably a good surface for her.”