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Sunday, January 16, 2005

Russian quartet are ready to call the tune with Maria playing lead

Maria is a woman in a hurry and one with a distinct awareness of her destiny. Much has been written, particularly with reference to Yevgeny Kafelnikov, now retired, and Marat Safin, about the suspect Russian temperament - yet it is an argument that Sharapova appears to invalidate.

Maria Sharapova

Her determination and will to win are implacable. She is still capable of tactical inflexibility, sometimes naivety, but she does not lose for want of self-belief. After Wimbledon Sharapova struggled to come to terms with the concomitant pressures, only to re-emerge triumphant at the end-of-season Tour Championships in Los Angeles where, as at Wimbledon, she defeated Serena Williams in the final.
To get to the final here Sharapova may need to defeat Williams again, this time in the semi-finals, while she faces a possible quarter-final against Kuznetsova. The rest of the Russians have no great liking for Sharapova, who has lived in the US since she was nine, and her father, Yuri, displayed worrying signs in Los Angeles of exacerbating such differences.

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