Busted Racquet

Previewing the Sharapova-Kvitova Wimbledon final

Chris Chase
Busted Racquet

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Maria Sharapova plays for her second Wimbledon title on Saturday against No. 9 seed Petra Kvitova. Busted Racquet previews and predicts the final.

Stats

• Sharapova is playing in her fourth Grand Slam final. She's won three -- Wimbledon, 2004; U.S. Open, 2006; and Australian Open, 2008. This is the first major final for Kvitova.

• With a victory, Sharapova would move to No. 3 in the world. Kvitova is No. 7 with a win.

• Sharapova hasn't lost a set en route to the final. She's held opponents to three games or less in nine of her 12 sets.

• In the Open era, 20 of the 62 women playing in their first Grand Slam final have gone on to win the match.

• Mindblowing stat No. 1: If Sharapova wins, she'll become the youngest Wimbledon champion since she won as a 17-year-old in 2004. She is 24.

Mindblowing stat No. 2: This is only the fourth final since 1977 that doesn't include either Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf or one of the Williams sisters.

Strengths

Sharapova -- Groundstrokes, experience, movement

Kvitova -- Serve, returns, aggressiveness

Weaknesses

Sharapova -- First serve, second serve

Kvitova -- Aggressiveness, inexperience

The Czech's return of Sharapova's second serve will be a crucial factor in the match. Sharapova had 13 double faults in her straight-set win over Sabine Lisicki in the semifinals. Lisicki was tentative in returning the second serves. Kvitova won't do Sharapova any such favors. Look for the world No. 9 to go for winners off Sharapova's second serve, making it all the more important for her to land her first serves in the box.

Prediction

Sharapova in straight sets.

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