Last Updated: 03/08/12 7:11pm
Maria Sharapova: Will play Serena Williams in final
Maria Sharapova will play Serena Williams for the Olympic women's singles title at Wimbledon after both saw off their respective semi-final opponents on Friday.
Sharapova saw off fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko 6-2 6-3 before Wimbledon champion Williams thrashed world number one Victoria Azarenka 6-1 6-2.
Third seed Sharapova, who is playing in her first Games and carried Russia's flag at the opening ceremony, continued her fine form on the SW19 grass.
She has served particularly well despite windy conditions and she overpowered Kirilenko in the first set in particular.
The 14th seed, a quarter-finalist at Wimbledon last month, hit back in the second set and was a break ahead at 3-2, but Sharapova responded with a run of four games in a row, putting away a forehand on her second match point.
Williams, meanwhile, continued her romp through the draw against Azarenka.
They had met in the semi-finals of Wimbledon last month, where Azarenka gave a good account of herself despite losing in straight sets, but on this occasion she simply could not live with the power of Williams.
The American and Sharapova will now face each other not just for a gold medal but also to become only the second woman after Steffi Graf to win all four grand slams and the Olympic title in their career.
Sharapova said: "Well baby steps I guess, but it's been amazing what I have achieved.
"Growing up you have big dreams and you hope to win your certain favourite tournaments. I've been really fortunate to win all the grand slams and obviously this is my first Olympics so I'm just thrilled to be in the final."
The third seed was sorry it had to be a Russian that she beat, with Kirilenko now due to face Azarenka in the bronze medal match on Saturday.
Sharapova added: "I knew this was going to be a really tough match. I was looking forward to it. Obviously it's tough to play a Russian on the other side of the net, but I'm happy that one of us can go for gold.
"It's incredible, not only to be part of this event and to be an Olympian, but to put yourself in with an opportunity to go for gold. It's a really nice feeling."
DOB: 17/5/1956 Event: Boxing Medals: 1 gold Flag: USA
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