Wimbledon 2011: Maria Sharapova set for Petra Kvitova final
WIMBLEDON CHAMPIONSHIPS - WOMEN'S FINAL
- All England Club, London
- Saturday 2 July, 1400 BST
- Live on BBC One, 3D, HD, Red Button, online (UK only), Radio 5 live; live text commentary on BBC Sport website (#bbctennis); iPlayer
Maria Sharapova has admitted thoughts of winning a second Wimbledon crown inspired her as she fought to overcome a career-threatening shoulder injury.
The Russian, 24, faces Petra Kvitova, 21, in Saturday's women's singles final at 1400 BST, seven years after winning her only title at the All England Club.
"I'm not the type to give up. It was tough, but I believed," Sharapova said.
Ahead of her first major final, Kvitova added: "I will focus only on the match and not think about the title."
Sharapova picked up her first major title at the age of 17 when she upset multiple Grand Slam winner Serena Williams in the 2004 final.
But the Russian, who has won three of the four Grand Slam finals she has contested to date, doubted whether she would return to the pinnacle of the sport during her 12-month injury absence between 2007 and 2008.
"You're going to have certain doubts when you go through something like that, knowing that not too many players have recovered fully from something like that," Sharapova continued.
"I certainly didn't like being in an indoor centre doing these little exercises with 30 repetitions every time. It was so annoying. It really was."
Sharapova recovered from a stuttering start to beat Sabine Lisicki in Thursday's semi-final at SW19 to reach the final.
Kvitova does not have the experience - or the illustrious record - of Williams, but Sharapova has predicted that her eighth-seeded opponent will be a "dangerous" adversary.
"She's got a lot of confidence and has nothing to lose," the fifth seed commented.
"Because she is left-handed the spin is coming from a different side, the serve as well. The way the spin comes out is a big advantage. It's a matter of seeing the ball a little faster."
Kvitova, who lost to Serena Williams in the semi-finals last year, looked confident as she progressed a step further this year with a powerful 6-1 3-6 6-2 victory over Victoria Azarenka.
The Czech looked relaxed facing the media and was adamant she would be treating the final as if it were "the second or third round".
"My serve will be an advantage, for sure," the left-hander stated. "It's grass and I love the grass and my game is good for the grass.
"Of course, I have something to lose but I'm just going on the court to win.
"I'm going to stay positive. It's good for Sharapova that she has experience from 2004, but it will be a different match and a different opponent."