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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 July, 2004, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
Sharapova into final
By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Maria Sharapova
Sharapova has dropped just two sets so far in the tournament
Maria Sharapova produced a stunning fightback to beat Lindsay Davenport and reach her first Grand Slam final.

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," said Davenport.

When we came back after the rain break she definitely stepped up her game
Lindsay Davenport
"I had a few break-point opportunities and every time got I got aced or an unreturnable."

The first rain stoppage of the match came after just two points, and Sharapova then dropped her opening service game.

Davenport dominated the early stages and the set quickly followed but after going a break up in the second, the rain came again.

This time it was the 28-year-old American who lost her serve when play resumed and Sharapova never looked back.

"When we came back after the rain break she definitely stepped up her game and was more in charge of the match than I was," said Davenport.

"She started to serve better and unfortunately I started to serve a lot worse."

Sharapova fought back from 1-3 down and went on to dominate the tie-break, levelling the match with a fierce backhand winner.

And after Davenport faltered on serve again in the first game of the final set, the increasingly confident Russian raced through to the final.

"I just kept believing in myself," said Sharapova.

"I knew she was a champion and had the experience but I just tried to find a way."

Sharapova goes on to face either Serena Williams or Amelie Mauresmo on Saturday.

"She absolutely deserved it," said Davenport, who admitted it would probably be her last Wimbledon. "She's got a big game."

Highlights: Wimbledon day 11

Interview: Maria Sharapova

Interview: Lindsay Davenport

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