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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 July, 2004, 21:37 GMT 22:37 UK
Sharapova is tough nut to crack

By John McEnroe
BBC Sport summariser and three-time Wimbledon champion

Maria Sharapova is unbelievable. At 17 years old, she has no recollection of any past breakdowns, so she just goes out and plays every point so hard.

This girl is not afraid. She actually believes she can win the title this year.

Maria Sharapova

And with Serena not quite at the top of her game, Sharapova will go into the final thinking she has a real chance.

She is not as comfortable or proficient at the net as Amelie Mauresmo.

But she went out there thinking she could win against Lindsay Davenport. By the middle of the second set, having got back into the match, she thought she should win.

Sharapova seems to learn with each set in every match she plays. I have seen her before but did not realise how good she really is. She plays so hard.

She is a great addition to the women's tour - and I know millions of men who would agree with me wholeheartedly!

Including both my two sons.

I'm still sticking with my original pick before the tournament - Serena - but we've got a great match-up here.

By Tracy Austin
BBC Sport summariser and former world number one

Maria Sharapova's victory over Lindsay Davenport was all the more meaningful because she had to come back from one set down to do it.

She was down and out against a former champion but dug her heels in and showed great guts.

After the rain delay (at one set and a break down) Maria became a different player.

She was more aggressive, she took more chances and was looking to cut off Davenport's returns by hitting the ball early.

Lindsay served brilliantly in the first set - she hit 82% of her first serves in. That dropped in the second set but she ended the match with an overall average of 68% which is still unusually high.

Maria just came back playing incredible tennis.

So all credit to the Russian - she never gave up; I was a little disappointed with Lindsay - at the end she seemed like she was just swinging the arm.

That is not what you want to see, but it is just what Sharapova will have wanted to see.

It's sometimes tough to finish off a match when you are young, but Davenport made it easy for her.

The American looked tired - not physically but mentally. She got frustrated seeing her shots keep coming back to her and she just lost her composure.

Maria had to come back from a set down against Ai Sugiyama, too, but that doesn't make her a slow starter.

I think both players came out very quickly so you have to praise Sharapova for getting her foot back in the door.

Capriati was overwhelmed by Serena's good start in the quarter-finals - but Maria was never going to give it away.

And she's great fun to watch. She shouts and pumps her fist and gives a lot to the crowd.

Highlights: Wimbledon day 11

Interview: Maria Sharapova

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