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Sunday, December 12, 2004

Sharapova to challenge Davenport at Pan Pacific Open tennis

Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova will lead the challengers bidding to prevent a record fifth victory for world number one Lindsay Davenport at the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament in February, organisers said.

Maria Sharapova

Davenport, who is also on a hat-trick here, posted her first title of last season at the 1.3 million dollar event before winning another six to regain the number one ranking. The American is joint holder of the most Pan Pacific titles along with retired former world number one Martina Hingis on four. But Sharapova will be returning to a happy hunting ground where she successfully defended a WTA title, the Japan Open, for the first time in October. Maria, a big favourite with Japanese supporters, also won her first professional title in the ITF Circuit series in Gunma, north of Tokyo, two years ago.

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