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The Powerpuff girls

sports Updated: Jul 01, 2011 02:33 IST

Maria Sharapova, the rejuvenated glamour girl of women's tennis, will take on low-profile Czech player Petra Kvitova in the Wimbledon title showdown after two scrappy semi-finals on Thursday.

Russian fifth seed Sharapova, the 2004 champion, outgunned German wildcard Sabine Lisicki 6-4, 6-3 while eighth-seeded Kvitova reached her first Grand Slam final with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 win over Belarusian fourth seed Victoria Azarenka.

World number 62 Lisicki, who had stunned second seeded French Open champion Li Na in the second round, was always in trouble after her powerful serve deserted her midway through the first set.

"It's amazing to be back in the final at Wimbledon, it's been a while," said Sharapova.

"I'm really happy even though I didn't play my best tennis today," added Sharapova, who totted up 13 double-faults during a patchy display.

"To be in the final is a great achievement for me but I still feel like I've got more to do."

But Sharapova, who will be chasing a fourth Grand Slam title in Saturday's final, got off to a horrendous start on Centre Court, double-faulting twice in her opening service game as Lisicki surged into a 2-0 lead.

Lisicki, regularly clocking serves timed at 120mph, held to go 3-0 up and soon had Sharapova struggling in the next game.

The Russian favourite saved a crucial break point which would have put Lisicki 4-0 up before eventually holding to remain in touch at 3-1.

From that point on, Lisicki's suspect second serve was always being ruthlessly exploited by the Russian as the German's challenge wilted with 13 double faults the final result.

Kvitova, the first Czech since Jana Novotna in 1998 to make the title match, is also the first left-hander to reach the final since her childhood inspiration Martina Navratilova in 1990.

"I saw Martina in the locker room and she wished me good luck. I'm so happy but I don't really believe I am in the final," said Kvitova, whose 40 winners to Azarenka's nine were the foundation of her triumph.

Azarenka, who was so disillusioned with tennis earlier this year that she considered retiring, immediately backed Kvitova for the title.