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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Maria storms into second round

Maria storms into second round

Maria Sharapova advanced to the second round of the US Open tennis championships on Monday with a straight-set victory over Eleni Daniilidou of Greece.

Maria Sharapova

Maria, seeking to add a second Grand Slam title to the Wimbledon crown she captured in 2004, showed no sign of the chest muscle strain that sidelined her in the weeks leading up to the Open as she downed Daniilidou 6-1 6-1 in 1hr 6min. "I felt really good. It feels good to get back into action," she said. "I think there's always room for improvement and hopefully I'll keep improving." She scattered four aces throughout the match while Daniilidou was undone in part by seven double faults. Maria Sharapova will next face Dally Randriantefy.


I-play Serves Up Maria Sharapova Tennis During US Open

I-play Serves Up Maria Sharapova Tennis During US Open

San Mateo, CA - 29th August 2005: I-play, the mobile games company, today announced the availability of 'Maria Sharapova Tennis', the mobile game starring the tennis champion, for this year's US Open.

Maria Sharapova

Created and developed by India's leading mobile games company, Dhruva Interactive, 'Maria Sharapova Tennis' is now available on major carriers and online portals across North America."As part of our drive to create mobile games for everyone, we are very pleased to bring an athlete of huge, global appeal like Maria Sharapova to mobile gaming. The game will be simple to play but difficult to master, just like tennis itself," said Paul Maglione, Senior Vice President of Publishing and Marketing of I-play.

Currently ranked number one in the world and seeded first at the U.S. Open, Sharapova, took the tennis world by storm last year when she won the 2004 All-England Championships tennis' most prestigious tournament. Just 18 and only a professional player for three years, she also captured the WTA tournaments in Seoul and Tokyo before beating Serena Williams in the 2004 final of the WTA Championships in Los Angeles. In 2005, she won titles in Tokyo and Doha, Qatar, and reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January. Recently, Sharapova was named one of People Magazine's 2005 "50 Most Beautiful People."

Rajesh Rao, CEO of Dhruva Interactive commented: "Our effort has been to make a compelling mobile tennis game that can be played by the mass market, not just high end phones. Dhruva has built its reputation on building high quality games. The mobile gaming market is at a critical development phase and we intend Maria Sharapova Tennis to be a genre defining game.

" Players can fight it out as Maria in Maria Sharapova Tennis and compete across four Grand Slam tournaments with a range of shots and court surfaces. Career earnings are used to unlock pictures of Maria to store on player's phones. Sharapova, who has taken considerable interest in the game, commented: "By using my name in a mobile gaming context, I hope that tennis fans will be able to share my passion, whatever the weather or conditions of play." IMG, the world's premier sports and lifestyle management firm, manages the tennis star's relationship with I-play.

Gregg Oldfield, Vice President Brand Marketing & Interactive Media, IMG said: "The increasing popularity of mobile games enables sports personalities to capitalize on new media opportunities. I-Play and Dhruva have developed a compelling Maria Sharapova mobile game that provides a high quality interactive experience for tennis fans worldwide."


Monday, August 29, 2005

Maria Sharapova ready for more Slam success

Maria Sharapova ready for more Slam success

New York - She reigns on billboards, she reigns in the rankings, and now Maria Sharapova gets one more chance in 2005 to reign on a Grand Slam court.

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova, whose dazzling looks and steely determination have made her a star who transcends her sport, heads into the US Open this week as the top seed thanks to her ascent to the world number one ranking last Monday - Lindsay Davenport subsequently regained the number ranking after making it into the semi-finals at the WTA event in Conneticut.
The 18-year-old became the fifth-youngest woman to claim the world number one ranking and the first Russian woman to achieve the feat.
It hardly matters that Maria Sharapova's final step to the summit came after a week in which she was recovering from injury.
"The computer doesn't lie," was Maria's blithe assessment as she contemplated capturing the coveted No 1 slot despite nursing a right pectoral muscle strain that prompted her to withdraw from the WTA Tournament that ended in Toronto on Sunday.
"You have to achieve something in order to get there. It has been an amazing two years."
Amazing, indeed. Maria Sharapova was an unheralded 17-year-old when she became the first Russian to win Wimbledon last year, dethroning two-time defending champion Serena Williams in the final.
She became the second-youngest Wimbledon winner in the Open era behind Martina Hingis, who was 16 when she won in 1997.
She capped her milestone 2004 with a victory in the WTA Tour Championship, the culmination of a season that saw her rocket from No 32 at the end of 2003 to fourth in the world.
Maria stalked the number one ranking for much of 2005, and while she has so far failed to add to her collection of Grand Slam hardware, she has won three WTA Tour titles this year while presiding over a global endorsement empire.
Maria Sharapova's rare blend of grit and grace has made her the world's best-paid sportswoman. She has scooped some $25million (about R166,25million) in sponsorships and endorsements, sultry images of the leggy teen selling everything from signature perfume and clothing lines to mobile phones.
Japan recently issued a postage stamp featuring her image, and her decision to wear shoes flecked with real gold at this year's Wimbledon sparked a fashion furore.
While her looks have drawn inevitable comparisons to another blond Russian beauty - Anna Kournikova - Maria's on-court exploits have already far surpassed those of her compatriot, who, despite her fame, never claimed a WTA title.
While Maria Sharapova is right at home at a fashion shoot, it's her blistering shots and gutsy, grunting competitive streak that has won over true tennis fans. Her climb began in earnest when Maria Sharapova arrived at the age of nine at Nick Bollettieri's Tennis Academy in Florida, accompanied by her father, Yuri with her mother, Yelena, remaining in Siberia for the next two years.
"Of course it's a dream come true to be able to win a Grand Slam and be number one in the world," she says. "It definitely puts a smile on your face." - Sapa-AFP


Maria Sharapova vs Sania Mirza at US Open

Maria Sharapova vs Sania Mirza at US Open?

India's brightest hope at the US Open Sania Mirza finds herself placed in the same half of the women's singles draw that includes World No.1 and top seed Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

Sania, ranked 50th in the world, opens her campaign against the tricky opponent in Mashona Washington, who is six places lower than her in the WTA ranking. The Sania-Mashona face-off will be the first ever between them.
Mashona, 29, was a member of the US Fed Cup team that reached the semifinals this year and a six-time veteran of the US Open.


Tennis: Sharapova a marketing executive's dream

Tennis: Sharapova a marketing executive's dream (By Paul Lewis and Agencies)

"She is the face of women's tennis. And the legs, and the body and, if you'd been in Toronto for a recent tournament, rather more of her chest than her Nike tennis dress designer would have wanted to see.

Maria Sharapova White Nike  Dress
Maria Sharapova isn't just the world No 1 and favourite for the US Open which begins in New York tomorrow - she is also almost the complete antithesis of the woman who might be favoured to beat her for the title, Belgium's Kim Clijsters. While Sharapova is the femme fatale of women's tennis - Anna Kournikova with talent - and the new world No 1, Clijsters, a former world No 1, is maintaining her girl-next-door image, the unruly hair, the strong physique and an air of understatement. Sharapova, 18, won Wimbledon in 2004; Clijsters is recognised as maybe the best player never to win a Grand Slam event. Kind of like the Phil Mickelson of women's tennis - even though she is still only 22.

Sharapova wouldn't be out of place on on a catwalk. Clijsters wouldn't be out of place on a hockey field. Sharapova is already the most-photographed and most-interviewed female tennis player on the planet; Clijsters, while she does not avoid publicity, doesn't court it. Scarcely a word has ever passed her lips about the much-publicised but unexplained broken romance with the Australian uber-brat, Lleyton Hewitt. Sharapova now has a global following and a global marketing empire. She is the highest-paid sportswoman in the world, earning more than US$20 million for on- and off-court activity. In Japan, for instance, you can buy pillows shaped in the form of Sharapova's breasts and lap. The breast pillow by the firm Sharanpowan is made with a cover in the style of a tennis shirt that can be removed to reveal more intimate details. The breast pillow costs $17, the lap pillow $29. The Japanese appear to find the lower part of Sharapova's body more attractive than its upper part, according to a Russian newspaper which reported this phenomenon.

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Maria is not only rising in the rankings

Maria Sharapova is not only rising in the rankings, she's also getting taller. The 18-year-old Russian, who jumped to No. 1 in women's tennis Monday, is listed in the WTA's official guide as 6-foot. Not so, she says.

Maria Sharapova Tall Legs

Maria tells Time magazine she's 6 feet 2 inches tall, and she's not exactly thrilled with the extra 2 inches. "I wouldn't say I'm in love with them because if I wear heels, I'm like 6-foot-4," she says. "It's a little too tall." Maria Sharapova, preparing for next week's U.S. Open, overtook Lindsay Davenport for the No. 1 spot. At the end of 2002, her ranking was No. 186. "It's actually shocking," Maria says. "Before I was trying to lay off the whole thing, saying, `I'm not worried about it, it's not important.' But you know, once you get there, it's, like, wow!"

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Maria jumps to No. 1 in World Rankings

Maria Sharapova took over the WTA Tour's No. 1 ranking Monday from Lindsay Davenport, who held the top spot since October.

Maria Sharapova

Maria became the first Russian to ascend to top spot and is just the 15th No. 1 in the 20-year history of the WTA Tour rankings. "I know there is a lot of responsibility that comes along with being No. 1," Maria said. "And I want to represent women's tennis with the same class and style as the other great players, like Steffi Graf, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles, Lindsay and the others."

Maria has not played since Aug. 11 at Los Angeles where she won her third-round match to reach the quarter-finals, but had to withdraw with a strained chest muscle. The same injury forced her to pull out of the Rogers Cup in Toronto and she was not playing on the tour this week. Maria Sharapova won at Wimbledon in 2004 and has nine other titles, including three this year in Tokyo, Doha and Birmingham, England. Her season record is 43-7.

Maria Sharapova started the year at No. 4 has won six titles in the last 12 months in addition to her 2004 Wimbledon crown and season-ending title at the Tour Championships. She has reached at least the semifinals in eight of her last 11 WTA Tour events. Her record is 43-7. Maria is one of four Russians in the top 10. France's Amelie Mauresmo, a semifinalist loser in Toronto, remained No. 3 and Belgium's Kim Clijsters jumped four spots to No. 4 after winning the Rogers Cup. Svetlana Kuznetsova is No. 5, followed by Elena Dementieva, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Serena Williams, Nadia Petrova and Venus Williams.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Two of the world's leading female tennis players will compete in a match in Seoul next month.

Maria Sharapova

They said that Russia's Maria Sharapova and America's Venus Williams will play against each other in eastern Seoul on Sept. 19 on the Korean post-harvest holiday of Chuseok. It promises to be the highestprofile tennis game ever in South Korea, according to organizers who hope it will promote the sport in a country more fascinated by other sports such as football and baseball. The 18-year-old Sharapova won the women's Wimbledon title in 2004, but the 25-year-old Williams took the coveted trophy last month.

Maria Sharapova stole the show last year at the Hansol Korea Open, the first WTA tour tournament ever held in South Korea. Although she only played several matches here, her visit led to a burst of interest in tennis across the country and media headlines that read "Sharapova Fever."

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JP Morgan Chase Open

Russian top seed Maria Sharapova shook off the rust of five weeks away from the court to overcome a frustrated Maria Kirilenko 7-6 6-2 in the second round of the JP Morgan Chase Open on Tuesday.

Sexy Maria Sharapova Nike White Shorts

Playing her first tour match since losing to Venus Williams in the semifinals at Wimbledon, an erratic Maria Sharapova mixed pinpoint accuracy on her booming groundstroke with a string of errors forced by her speedy and creative compatriot. “There was a lot of rustiness,” said the world number two, who had received a bye into the second round. “First matches are always tough. You work in practice but then go out and competing is totally different. You just have to go out there and shake it all off.”

By adeptly mixing her backhand and playing short angles, the 50th-ranked Kirilenko frustrated her off-court friend, but Maria continued her assault on the corners and the strategy eventually paid off after a few nervy moments. Maria needed seven set points to close out the first, wasting four opportunities in the 12th game and three more in the tiebreaker. Kirilenko was flustered by three questionable calls in the tiebreaker, including consecutive decisions that gave Maria Sharapova a 4-3 lead.
“It was the worst umpiring I’ve had in my life,” Kirilenko said. “They (the line judges) made three mistakes and the chair umpire did nothing, he just sat in the chair and had nothing to say.” Maria went on to take the tiebreaker 9-7 when she blasted a crosscourt forehand too deep for Kirilenko to return. Looking more like a player on the brink of becoming world number one for the first time, Maria Sharapova was far more efficient in the second set and once Kirilenko received treatment for an elbow strain in the third game, the result was never in doubt.

“I knew she would give it all she had because a lot of players ranked where she is have nothing to lose when they play me,” Maria said.

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Maria Sharapova survived an injury and another challenge from a fellow Russian, defeating Anna Chakvetadze 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 Thursday in a third-round match at the JPMorgan Chase Open.

Maria Sharapova

"I'm not playing 100 percent physically," Maria said. "I'm serving 92 miles per hour and I'm not hitting my forehand. With that, it's tough to play a girl, who has nothing to lose, is swinging out there and seems to be playing unbelievable. "The good thing is that I know that at the end of the day without playing great, with having a few problems and a serve, you tough it out and you win. The bad thing is I can't hit a big serve and you feel like crap."

Maria admitted inflammation of her right pectoral muscle has weakened her powerful serve and forehand. She sufferered the injury playing at Zurich last year and required an MRI on Wednesday. "There's nothing torn, thank God, but it keeps coming back," she said. "It's the whole muscle and hurts on the moment of impact. The more you play and the bigger you hit, the more painful it is." "There's no pressure at all," she said. "It's not important for me to play."


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