With Maria Sharapova reaching her first Wimbledon final since winning at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in 2004, BR looks at the one-time teen sensation turned solid veteran's greatest career victories.
Entering tomorrow's final, Sharapova has won 23 WTA Tour titles, including three Grand Slam events.
Statistics courtesy WTATennis.com
It's not always as challenging as a major, since she only had to win five matches, but Sharapova got a hard-earned clay victory in the French tuneup, toppling No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and three other top-15 players in the process.
Going unscathed without dropping a set (and only going to a tiebreak once) through a huge event like Indian Wells is quite an accomplishment, though the highest-ranked player she had to navigate through was fellow Russian Elena Dementieva at No. 8 in the final.
Sometimes a top player or two may skip Australia, but in '08 Sharapova blasted through Justine Henin (No. 1), Jelena Jankovic (No. 3) and flavor of the month Ana Ivanovic (No. 3) in the quarters through the finals and had a tough draw with Elena Dementieva (No. 11) in the round of 16, dropping just 18 games in the four matches.
The event that customarily pits the best of the best was overrun with Russians, who for a while took over the top 10.
Sharapova beat three comrades before a gripping final win over Serena Williams for the championship.
Ranked No. 4 and seeded third, Sharapova recorded five straight-set wins, four of which came over top-40 players, then took out world No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo (in three sets, but 6-0 bagels in the first and third) and No. 2 Justine Henin for the title.
with Kirsten Dunst, 2004
Still mostly unknown outside of the tennis world, Sharapova became an overnight sensation, beating big hitters Lindsay Davenport and Serena Williams for her first Grand Slam title.
Two days later, she was not only the toast of New York on the Today Show, Good Morning America and other programs, but she kept a commitment to a kids program in New Haven, Conn., scheduled for that day.