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Sharapova will play for gold at London Games

Wimbledon, England (Sports Network) - Career Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova will go for a "Golden Slam" on Saturday when she plays in the women's singles gold medal match at the London Summer Games.

The third-seeded former world No. 1 superstar blew past No. 14 seed Maria Kirilenko 6-2, 6-3 in an all-Russian semifinal Friday on Court 1 at the All England Club.

The French Open champion Sharapova will meet the Victoria Azarenka-Serena Williams winner on Saturday. Azarenka is the reigning world No. 1. The former top-ranked Williams, also searching for a Golden Slam, captured another Wimbledon title in this London suburb just last month.

Sharapova topped Kirilenko in 1 hour, 29 minutes despite committing 14 more unforced errors (19-5). The tall slugger, however, also popped six aces, tallied three more service breaks (4-1), and struck 28 more winners (35-7) on Day 7 of this nine-day event.

The 25-year-old Sharapova is now 4-2 lifetime against Kirilenko, including 2-0 this year.

Russian women have now accounted for three of the last four Olympic gold medal match finalists. Russia swept the women's singles medals four years ago in Beijing, when Elena Dementieva captured gold, Dinara Safina took home silver, and Vera Zvonareva secured bronze.

Sharapova will appear in her 44th career WTA-level final, seeking a 28th championship. She's already titled at the French Open, Stuttgart and Rome this year and is a three-time 2012 runner-up, including the Australian Open.

08/03 11:22:21 ET


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