Saturday, July 2, 2011

Previewing the Wimbledon final

Maria Sharapova plays for her second Wimbledon title on Saturday against No. 9 seed Petra Kvitova. Busted Racquet previews and predicts the final.

  • Sharapova is playing in her fourth Grand Slam final. She's won three -- Wimbledon, 2004; U.S. Open, 2006; and Australian Open, 2008. This is the first major final for Kvitova.
  • With a victory, Sharapova would move to No. 3 in the world. Kvitova is No. 7 with a win.
  • Sharapova hasn't lost a set en route to the final. She's held opponents to three games or less in nine of her 12 sets.
  • In the Open era, 20 of the 62 women playing in their first Grand Slam final have gone on to win the match.
  • Mindblowing stat No. 1: If Sharapova wins, she'll become the youngest Wimbledon champion since she won as a 17-year-old in 2004. She is 24. Mindblowing stat No. 2: This is only the fourth final since 1977 that doesn't include either Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf or one of the Williams sisters.
  • Sharapova -- Groundstrokes, experience, movement
  • Kvitova -- Serve, returns, aggressiveness
  • Sharapova -- First serve, second serve
  • Kvitova -- Aggressiveness, inexperience
The Czech's return of Sharapova's second serve will be a crucial factor in the match. Sharapova had 13 double faults in her straight-set win over Sabine Lisicki in the semifinals. Lisicki was tentative in returning the second serves. Kvitova won't do Sharapova any such favors. Look for the world No. 9 to go for winners off Sharapova's second serve, making it all the more important for her to land her first serves in the box.

Sharapova in straight sets. (Source)

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