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Serena, Sharapova In Grudge Match

Serena Williams fired a warning to Maria Sharapova ahead of their Wimbledon semifinal clash today as the world number one admitted she saves her best performances for clashes with her fiercest rival.

Williams and Sharapova meet today in the latest installment of a bitter rivalry that took root on Centre Court in 2004 and still festers more than a decade later.

Sharapova caused one of the great Wimbledon shocks 11 years ago when, aged just 17, she defeated Serena in the final. Serena, 33, has a 17-2 lead in their head to head record, winning their last 16 meetings and depriving Sharapova of three major titles — in the 2007 and 2015 Australian Open finals and the 2013 French Open final.

“I love playing Maria. I think she brings out the best in me. I thought we had a wonderful final in Australia. It was very entertaining,” said Serena, who remains on course to hold all four major titles at once and is in the hunt to clinch the first calendar Grand Slam since 1988.

Asked if her lack of success in the Serena match-up would be weighing on her mind, Sharapova gamely insisted she still relishes the challenge of playing the American.

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