Eleven years back, on a breezy July afternoon at Wimbledon, a 17-year old Maria Sharapova pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the tournament's history, when she demolished overwhelming favourite Serena Williams in straight sets (6-1, 6-4) in the final, thus lifting the first ever major title of her career. In the same year, Sharapova got the better of Williams once again at the year-ending championships.
However, in 16 subsequent meetings between the two, Sharapova has failed to repeat the magic against the legendary American, coming off second best on all occasions. On 9 July, the two come face-to-face once again, with Sharapova hoping to finally end her 11 year-long losing streak against the current World number 1.
In the last seven years, Sharapova's best result against Serena Williams was that she took off one set from the latter. The last time they met on a grass court, Serena thumped her Russian rival by a scoreline of 6-0, 6-1. Earlier this year, both met in the final of the Australian Open. As in most of the 15 encounters since 2004, it once again turned out to be a one-sided clash, as Williams added another major title to her cabinet with a 6-3, 7-6 win.
However, this time, Sharapova has been in imperious form at Wimbledon, dropping only one set en route to the semi-finals. The World number 1 Williams, however, hasn't enjoyed as comfortable a campaign, surviving a major scare against Heather Watson in the third round. In the quarterfinals as well, she had a tough time putting it past Victoria Azarenka, with the match going into the third set.
To add some spice to their rivalry, both Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova don't seem to be the best of friends in the WTA circuit. Two years back, the two stars had a fallout after Williams made some indirect references to Sharapova's boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov, in an interview to the Rolling Stone magazine. Sharpova hit back at Williams, and despite the latter backtracking on her comments later on and even issuing an apology, their relationship has never been the same.