posted on Jul, 1 2004 @ 01:24 PM
Russian schoolgirl Maria
Sharapova completed a fairytale march into the Wimbledon women's final by overpowering former champion Lindsay Davenport in an extraordinary
semi-final. Experience counted for little against the youthful exuberance of the 17-year-old from Siberia, who melted the hearts of an enthralled
Centre-Court crowd by fighting her way back from the brink of defeat.
The 17-year-old Russian looked to be heading out of the tournament when she trailed by a set and a break, but a 50-minute rain delay rescued her.
Sharapova came storming back with an immediate break and converted her third set point in the tie-break. She maintained the momentum in the final set
with two more breaks, and held on for a 2-6 7-6 6-1 victory.
"This is unbelievable,"
Sharapova told BBC Sport.
"I don't know how I'm in the final. It's amazing, it's my favourite Grand Slam. I never expected to do so well here so early."
Davenport paid tribute to the teenager's calm under pressure.
"In the second set I had a few chances and every time she came up with the goods,"
"I had a few break-point opportunities and every time got I got aced or an unreturnable."