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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

In Last Final, Navratilova to 'Go Out in Style'

WIMBLEDON, England -- For one moment, Martina Navratilova allowed her concentration to wander. Right there in the middle of the second set, in what had turned into a dogfight with her friend Gigi Fernandez, she was tossing the ball for a serve and along came this uninvited thought: "I wonder what is it going to be like to be in the finals." Navratilova missed the serve but won the match, so afterward she could admit to the lapse. "I couldn't believe I had that thought, and I thought, 'What ... are you doing?'" she said. "I really got mad at myself for doing that, but it only happened once." And Navratilova, 37 and seemingly getting younger by the day, says it won't happen again. The Wimbledon women's championship is being played Saturday afternoon on Center Court, and she's in it. For the last time, the final time. "This is what I've daydreamed about," she said Thursday, after beating Fernandez, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6), for the right to play for one more title. "This is what I promised myself when I walked off the court here last year," she said, referring to her semifinal loss to Jana Novotna. "One more chance. From here on, the focus is easy. This is now. I'm in the finals." Navratilova said she saw only a half-full glass and added that she will see it the same way Saturday, no matter what. "I mean, win or lose, what a way to go," she said. "Geez, obviously I'm going to be busting my gut out there to win, but this is what I wanted, to go out in style, and either way, I'm going out in style. You know, I'm going to enjoy every moment." And she will be there for the 12th time, going for an unmatched 10th women's singles title. Her opponent for this last go-round will be Conchita Martinez, the No. 3 player in the world, who Thursday beat upset-artist Lori McNeil, 3-6, 6-2, 10-8. "Playing Conchita is going to be a little bit like it was when I used to play Chris (Evert)," Navratilova said. "She likes to play on the baseline. She also has a lot of topspin, and that makes it more difficult to volley. And then, if she's serving well." Martinez seems loose, with nothing to do but go for it. And in her post-match news conference, she said more than she had in nearly two weeks. She made people laugh. "Once, where I grew up in Spain, everyone thought grass was for cows," Martinez said. "Maybe now, I think it is for people, too." And when asked about her fondness for psychology and what psychological ploy she could use to throw Navratilova off her game, Martinez said: "I do like psychology very much. But I am not a good psychologist. Martina is playing some great tennis, she is great player on grass and she is left-handed. So tough and she seems so relaxed. I think I better use psychology on myself and make her a great match if I can."