It has been a remarkable resurgent year for the Russian beauty who prefers blood, sweat and tears to the fashion runway.
Her recovery from shoulder surgery is now a distant memory and this year, Maria Sharapova even managed to shine on European clay where she won a title in Rome and advanced to the semifinals at Stade Roland Garros––a new personal best.
The Russian’s appearance in the semifinals of the 2011 French Open—before falling to the eventual championship Li Na of China—was a harbinger of better things to come.
On the grass courts of Wimbledon, Sharapova continued her improvement, making it to the final where she faced newcomer Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic. Although most picked Sharapova to win the Wimbledon title because of her experience in winning majors––including her Wimbledon title win in 2004—Kvitova simply paid no attention to the pundits or the odds makers and beat Sharapova in the finals.
Initially, it looked as though Sharapova would win. She began the match by breaking the Czech in the opening game chiefly on a pair of Kvitova forehand errors. Eventually the superior power and shot-making of the Czech won out and she served for the set and the match.
However, there was a pattern in play as Sharapova advanced first to the the French Open semifinals followed by the Wimbledon finals.
The next logical step for Sharapova should be US Open Champion.