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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Maria wins Doha final !

Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova won her second WTA Tour title this month, rallying past Alicia Molik of Australia 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 Saturday in the Qatar Open final. Mariai second seed prevailed over the Australian fourth seed 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in an intense final to claim the 94,000 dollar top prize and jump to number three in the WTA rankings.

Maria Sharapova

"It was a great match with lots of tense moments," said the Russian star. "I couldn't do anything in the first set because Alicia played so well." Molik broke second-seeded Maria Sharapova in the third game for the first set , and appeared headed for her second title of 2005 after winning in Sydney last month.
But a fired up Maria Sharapova produced two vital service breaks to even the set score, and in the decider, the 17-year-old returned extremely well to break Molik in game five and hold serve, closing the final with an ace. "After losing the first set, I just tried to hang in there and wait for my turn to make something happen," said Maria. "I am glad that I managed to play my best tennis today after the first set."

It was Sharapova's ninth career title . She won the Tokyo Open this month then took two weeks off to recover from the flu. Molik was gracious in defeat. "We had a great match. I can safely say that the best player in the tournament won the title here," the Australian said. "I enjoyed coming here as I have done so in the past. I am sure I will come back to Doha next year."

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Maria to face Molik in Qatar final

Maria Sharapova shut down capable Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-4 on a wet Day 5!

Maria Sharapova White Dress

Top-seeded Amelie Mauresmo of France lost a chance to claim the No. 1 ranking in women's tennis when she was upset Friday by Australian Alicia Molik in the semifinals of the Qatar Open. Maria and Molik will compete in Saturday's final.

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Friday, February 25, 2005

Maria Sharapova beat Marion Bartoli

Maria ousted France's Marion Bartoli 6-3, 6-2. Maria had too much class for Bartoli, although the reigning Wimbledon champion was far from perfect.

Maria Sharapova

Bartoli actually led the first set 3-2 after a break in the fourth game, but Maria caught up soon and finished off the set with a break in the 11th game. Maria then swept to a 5-0 lead in the second set only to suffer a minor hiccup when Bartoli broke her and held her serve to narrow the gap at 2-5. Maria who was quite pumped up by that stage, duly served out the match. "I was a bit sloppy in some of the games. I wished I had served a little better," said the 17-year-old. Maria Sharapova said she was happy with her season so far, having made four semi-finals so far. "I've worked very hard and I try to push myself hard and raise my game every day," Maria said.

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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Maria storms into quarters

Maria Sharapova stormed into the quarter-finals of the WTA Qatar Open with a comprehensive victory over Argentina's Gisela Dulko here on Wednesday.

Maria Sharapova

The reigning Wimbledon champion was just too strong for her rival as she coasted to a 6-1 6-1 win to join Australia's Alicia Molik and Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova in the last eight. "It was a good match to get through," said Maria Sharapova. "It's never easy to make a comeback after an illness-enforced break, but I took my opportunities," she added. The second seeded Maria Sharapova said she still felt a bit tired from the after effects of the flu that forced her to skip the Paris Indoor Open earlier this month.
"I am still not a hundred percent but I was happy to dictate the match today and get used to the conditions here in a proper match setting," said Maria.

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Sunday, February 20, 2005

Maria recovered for Qatar Open !

Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova has recovered from the illness that forced her to pull out in Paris and is fit for the WTA event in Qatar on Monday.

Maria Sharapova

"I was sick, down with flu and an upper respiratory illness," said Maria.
"That's why I pulled out of the Paris Open. However, now I have recovered and am able to play," the Russian world number four said on her arrival in Doha.
Sharapova's main challenge is likely to come from France's world number two Amelie Mauresmo, and fellow Russian Anastasia Myskina, champion in Doha for the last two years.

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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Maria pulls out of Parisian tourney

Maria decided to pull out of the Open Gaz de France tennis event on Wednesday, citing an upper respiratory infection.

Maria Sharapova

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Maria, Williams, Mauresmo Headline This Week at WTA Paris

Australian Open holder Serena Williams heads the star-packed field this week at the WTA stop in Paris, the Open Gaz de France, joined by former No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo, last week's Tokyo winner and current Wimbledon holder Maria Sharapova, Russian Nadia Petrova, Frenchwoman Nathalie Dechy, Croat Karolina "The Spreminator" Sprem, Italy's Silvia Farina Elia, and Bulgaria's Maggie Maleeva.

Maria Sharapova Hot

First round match-ups of note are (6) The Spreminator vs. Dinara "Little Sis" Safina, a potential second-rounder of (3) Maria Sharapova vs. Tatiana "Hot Pants" Golovin, (7) Farina Elia vs. Klara "Kouky" Koukalova, and (2) Mauresmo vs. the winner of Mary Pierce and Anabel "Funky Cold" Medina Garrigues.

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Maria gets rankings boost from title

A victory over No. 1 Lindsay Davenport in the final of the Pan Pacific Open on Sunday means reigning Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova will move up to a career-high third in the WTA rankings.

Maria Sharapova

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Sunday, February 06, 2005

Maria Beats Davenport in Tokyo Final

Reigning Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova beat No. 1 Lindsay Davenport 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (5) in the Pan Pacific Open final Sunday and will move up to a career-high third in the WTA Tour rankings. Sharapova prevented Davenport from winning a record fifth title at the indoor tournament. Davenport, who lost to Serena Williams in the Australian Open final last weekend, hit 13 aces against Sharapova but needed a medical timeout after the first set because of a sore left thigh.

Maria Sharapova

"I'm very happy to have won," said Sharapova, who had nine aces. "Lindsay played an amazing match and it all came down to the tiebreaker, so obviously it was a very tough match." She will move past Amelie Mauresmo in Monday's new rankings and jump from No. 4 to No. 3, trailing only Davenport and Williams. "My job is to go out and perform well," Sharapova said. "I have no timetable to become No. 1 in the world. If it happens, it happens." On match point Sunday, she smacked a forehand down the line that Davenport couldn't catch up to. "I left the court to get some support on my left thigh. I just went back out there and tried to keep the points as short as possible," Davenport said. "In the tiebreaker, she came up with some great shots and I couldn't run down many balls."
Sharapova, who lost in the semifinals of the Australian Open to Williams, collected a $189,000 winner's check.
"I served well in the first set," the 17-year-old Russian said. "But she came out after the break and got a little confidence. It's tough when your opponent serves so well. I served well, too, but it was my return that I was most satisfied with."

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Maria reach Tokyo quarters

Tokyo, Japan (Sports Network) - Russian Grand Slam champions Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova were a pair of second-round winners Wednesday at the $1.3 million Toray Pan Pacific Open. The second-seeded Sharapova breezed past Venezuelan Maria Vento-Kabchi 7-6 (7-3), 6-0. The Wimbledon champion Sharapova won the Japan Open here in Tokyo last year.

Maria Sharapova

Meanwhile, the third-seeded Kuznetsova, last year's U.S. Open titlist, drubbed Swiss Marie-Gayanay Mikaelian 6-3, 6-1 to secure her berth in the quarterfinals. Sharapova awaits the Elena Likhovtseva-Jill Craybas winner, while Kuznetsova will face the Daniela Hantuchova-Maria Kirilenko victor in the quarters. In first-round action, wild card Aiko Nakamura topped qualifier Ryoko Fuda 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in an all-Japanese encounter; Akiko Morigami of Japan beat Spaniard Maria Sanchez Lorenzo 6-4, 6-1 to set-up a second-round matchup with French and U.S. Open runner-up Elena Dementieva of Russia; and Craybas snuck past Russian Tatiana Panova 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. Top-seeded and two-time defending Pan Pacific champion Lindsay Davenport of the U.S. will open defense of her titles with a second-round match against Japan's Saori Obata here on Thursday. Davenport is fresh off her runner-up finish at the Australian Open. The 2005 Pan Pacific Open winner will collect $189,000.

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Maria Sharapova and Anastasia Myskina are ready to play on the same team at the Russia Fed Cup, Shamil Tarpishchev, the Russia Fed Cup captain and the president of the Russian Tennis Federation, said at a press conference Wednesday.

Maria Sharapova

"We have talked it over with Maria Sharapova's father. We solved this problem last December," said Mr. Tarpishchev. "There is no conflict between Myskina and Sharapova, Anastasia is ready to be on the same team with Maria." Mr. Tarpishchev also emphasized that all the Russian tennis players had to be ready to play for Russia at any moment. "We will choose the ones who are best prepared," he added. Last autumn Ms. Myskina said she did not want to join the set-up in 2005 if Sharapova would be there, because the behavior of Sharapova's father towards other tennis players was inapropriate. Mr. Tarpishchev promised to resolve the situation.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Davenport, Sharapova headline Pan Pacs

Forgive Lindsay Davenport if she's not hitting on all cylinders at this week's Toray Pan Pacific Open. Losing the final of a Grand Slam event tends to take a bit of the bounce out of a person no matter how resilient they usually are. Davenport dropped Saturday's Australian Open final to Serena Williams and she knows it will take a while to recover, physically and emotionally.

Maria Sharapova

``A loss in a Slam is tough to come back from, tougher than other tournaments,'' Davenport said at a news conference Monday, the eve of the 135 million yen tournament's main draw. ``It takes a while to come back from something like that. I'm not 100 percent. But I took Sunday off and had just a light workout today, so hopefully I'll be ready for my first singles match Thursday. ``The good thing about the tour is that you get another chance the next week.'' Davenport won the first set of Saturday's final, but dropped the next two as Williams gritted through injuries that restricted her movement and reduced her power. World No. 1 Davenport, the two-time defending Toray champ and a four-time winner, is the tourney's No. 1 seed, but second seed Maria Sharapova is, of course, the event's main draw. separate photo shoot was held for the Russian teen before Monday's meet-the-press session, where the majority of the questions were directed at the World No. 4. Sharapova, the defending Wimbledon champion, fell to Williams in the semifinals in Melbourne. ``Even to reach the semis is an achievement,'' the 17-year-old said. ``It's a hard loss to get over, you keep looking for excuses. But, it's a new week and we're looking forward to playing. ``Lindsay has won this the past few years so we're looking for a chance to try and grab it away from her.'' Sharapova says she is more mature than she was a year ago, but adds that her game is not completely developed. ``This past year I've gained a lot of experience, playing against the top players in the world, and I've learned a lot,'' she said. ``I have a long career ahead of me and I want to keep on growing. ``But it's been an amazing journey so far.'' Sharapova already has an eye on her post-tennis career-the fashion biz. ``Like everyone else, I like to dress nicely,'' she said. ``I like to look elegant and classy. (Designing) is something I'm interested in, but it will have to wait until my tennis career is over.'' Like Davenport and the other top seeds-No. 3 Svetlana Kuznetsova and No. 4 Elena Dementieva-Sharapova will receive a first-round bye.

Maria leads Russian challenge against Davenport at Pan Pacific Open

Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova will lead a Russian attempt to prevent a record fifth victory for world number one Lindsay Davenport at the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament this week.

Maria Sharapova

Davenport, the American top seed and losing finalist at the Australian Open Saturday, is joint holder of the most Pan Pacific titles along with retired former world number one Martina Hingis of Switzerland on four. But second seed Sharapova will be returning to a happy hunting ground where she won her first WTA singles and doubles titles and successfully defended the singles at the Japan Open in October. The 17-year-old Russian starlet, a big favourite with Japanese supporters, also won her first professional title in the ITF Circuit series at Gunma north of Tokyo two years ago. In their only previous encounter, Sharapova defeated Davenport 2-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 in the Wimbledon semi-finals on the way to her first Grand Slam victory in July. Before meeting Sharapova, Davenport must survive the top half of the draw, which includes Russia's US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, who is third seed; Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova, eighth seed; and Jelena Jankovic of Serbia and Montenegro, the seventh seed. Davenport received a first-round bye with other top three seeds and faces a Japanese challenge from either Saori Obata or Miho Saeki in the second round. Sharapova was drawn in the bottom half with fourth seed Russian Elena Dementieva, who finished runner-up in the French and US opens last season, and sixth-seeded Russian Elena Likhovtseva, as well as fifth seed Ai Sugiyama of Japan.

Wimbledon top priority for Sharapova

TOKYO, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Maria Sharapova will give top priority to the defence of her Wimbledon title this year after insisting the world number one ranking can wait.

Maria Sharapova

"Being number one is not for this year, I don't think," Sharapova told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday. "For this year, I would love to defend Wimbledon. It's what drives me." "My main goal is to be number one in the world of course," added the Russian, who is playing at this week's Pan Pacific Open tournament in Tokyo.
"But if it's not tomorrow, or not in a year then, you know, if it will happen it will happen -- if not, whatever." Sharapova was less ambivalent when asked about her fierce rivalry with Serena Williams, who she beat in last year's Wimbledon final and at the season-ending WTA Tour Championships.

Maria Donates Porsche Auction Proceeds to Beslan Children

Russian tennis champion Maria Sharapova donated over $50,000 she made after auctioning off her Porsche car to the victims of the September school siege in Beslan.

Maria Sharapova

“Making this donation was the least that I could do to help the innocent victims in my country who were tragically affected by this senseless act,” Reuters quoted Sharapova as saying. Sharapova, 17, signed over the proceeds of the auction she held for the Porsche car she won at the season-ending WTA Tour Championships. The auction raised $56,300. “I encourage everyone to do as much as they can to bring at least a little bit of comfort and support to these victims and their families who are still stricken with grief and sadness.”


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