Sharapova, who has in recent months struggled with both shoulder
and elbow injuries, lost in the first round in January at the Australian Open before also losing in the third round last month at the French Open.
The glamorous six-footer did enjoy a somewhat success earlier this year on the WTA Tour as she took singles titles indoors at Memphis, Tennessee and on the clay at Strasbourg, France.
Sharapova, age 23, won her first grand slam title at Wimbledon at age 17 in 2004. Two years later in 2006, the Russian, who now resides in California, won the US Open and then in 2008 took her third of three grand slam titles at the Australian Open.
Head to head Sharapova leads Li 5-1. Li won the last meeting between the two players however almost exactly one year ago in the semifinals at Birmingham 6-4, 6-4.
“It will be good to play her again. A year makes a big difference,” the Sharapova said.
I certainly don’t like losing to the same person twice in a row —I’m a big competitor. I’m certainly going to try to turn that around.”
Earlier this year in January, Sharapova signed an eight year clothing and shoe contract
with Nike worth $70 million.
Before her shoulder injuries, Sharapova’s serve was regarded as one of the best on the tour. Her powerful groundstrokes and improving serve could make her one of the favorites at the third of four of tennis’ grand slams, Wimbledon which begins June 21st in London.