Wimbledon women's semis preview

Updated: June 29, 2005, 4:29 PM ET
By Miki Singh | Special to ESPN.com

Defending champion Maria Sharapova anchors a fabulous final four lineup today at Wimbledon. The 18-year-old Sharapova has been dominant all week as she tries to capture her second straight title on these famed lawns. Giving chase to the teen queen are three of the game's premier players in current world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, two-time Wimbledon winner Venus Williams and the in-form Amelie Mauresmo, who is the only one of the foursome yet to win a Grand Slam title. With all four playing at a high level entering the semifinal – dropping just one set combined – something's got to give with championship berths at stake.

Davenport vs. Mauresmo

• Davenport has dropped just one set en route to her fifth career Wimbledon semifinal. Today the 29-year-old Californian faces the athletic Frenchwoman Mauresmo, who has yet to face even one set point in the tournament. The 25-year-old Mauresmo is appearing in her third straight Wimbledon semifinal, but has yet to win at this stage, falling both times to Serena Williams. To make matters worse, Davenport, who won this title in 1999 and reached the finals in 2000, has beaten Mauresmo in eight of their 11 career meetings – none on grass – including five straight.

Sharapova vs. Williams

• Sharapova, the No. 2 seed, has been living up to the lofty expectations in this, her first career Grand Slam title defense. Sharapova has been red hot, having now won 22 straight matches on grass and 12 straight at Wimbledon, and she's surrendered serve a tournament-low one time in five matches. Her opponent today, the 14th-seeded Williams, is also finding her form. The 25-year-old has yet to yield a set and has been raising her level of play in each successive round. Head-to-head in this battle of Wimbledon champions, Sharapova has won both career meetings with Venus, including a victory in the semifinals in Miami this past March. But the resurgent Williams, who never has lost in the semifinals here in four prior visits, will be eager to get her family back into the Wimbledon finals for a sixth straight year and vault her game back among the elite.

Miki Singh is a tennis researcher for ESPN.