Maria Sharapova needs to end her 16-match losing streak against Serena Williams if she is to reach the women's singles final at Wimbledon. The Russian, 28, was victorious over Williams in the final at SW19 in 2004, but aside from one other victory that year, she has not managed to beat the world number one since. Sharapova has actually taken just one set off Williams in the last seven years and in their last meeting on grass, at the London 2012 Olympics, she managed to win just a solitary game.
Despite her dismal record, the five-time Grand Slam champion is confident that she can win to reach what would be a first Wimbledon final since 2011. "I think it's always a new match. I haven't had great success against her. I would love to change that around. That's how I look at it. There are definitely no secrets between each other's games, but it will be an incredible moment for me to step out on Centre Court against her again. There's no easy road to victory. You're going to have your bumps. That's the way I see it," the world number four said.
However, her route to the semis here at SW19 has been far from easy, with an epic tussle with Britain's Heather Watson followed by an emotional match with her sister Venus in the fourth round and then a high class quarter-final against Azarenka. Just like in her match with Watson, Williams found herself a set down to the Belarusian but upped her game superbly and struck 46 winners, including 17 aces.
"It's been up and down, up and down but somehow I'm still alive: I don't know how. "For me, I don't feel like I have any pressure going into this match. It's just totally different for me. I don't have anything to prove. I've won all the Grand Slams, multiple times. Now I'm here just to enjoy it. It's actually making me play better, which is crazy. I love playing Maria. I think she brings out the best in me," said Williams. Unbeaten in 26 matches at Slams, she is now just two games away from completing a 'Serena Slam' for a second time. All talk of that, and what would be a first calendar Grand Slam since Graf in 1988, is off limits to Williams and reporters have been jokingly rebuked for asking her. "No, I told you guys don't mention it, no slam!" she said after her win over Azarenka.