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Friday, September 30, 2005

Russian Girls take Interest in Tennis after Maria Success

The example of Maria Sharapova, who has risen to the top of world tennis, is inspiring a new generation of Russian teenage girls to head for the courts hoping to emulate her sporting and financial success.

Maria Sharapova

“The phone has been ringing around the clock for registrations since mid-August,” says Igor Volkov, a coach at Moscow’s famous Spartak tennis academy, told News24. The academy now has 190 places compared to around 30 in 1994 but since Maria became the first Russian woman to top the WTA world rankings last month, they’ve had to turn eager teenagers away. “I would like to become as good as her and earn as much money as her,” said 15-year-old Yuliya Livotova.

Maria Sharapova, the blonde tennis star with the top model looks , coming from Siberia, won Wimbledon last year aged just 17. Since then her advertising contracts have netted her over $18 million and by many accounts she has become the biggest earner in women’s sport. Russia now leads women’s tennis, with seven players in the top 20 global rankings compared to just three from the U.S., a country that used to be a traditional leader in the sport.

More success came their way last weekend when a team inspired by Elena Dementieva successfully defended the FedCup defeating France 3-2 in the final in Paris. “The reason we are the best lies in the Russian character, we are more resilient,” said Volkov. Coaches at the Spartak academy, where the buildings have seen better days and the fences are left to rust, earn just $200 a month. Many promising teenagers leave for Europe and the U.S., as Maria Sharapova did, to look for better facilities.

“It’s a pity the (Russian tennis) federation does nothing against this,” said a former coach of first Russian tennis star Anna Kournikova, Larisa Preobrazhenskaya, 78, who fears Russian tennis will lose momentum. Russian parents realize the problems but also know the opportunities that tennis offers and are prepared to put everything into developing their children’s careers. Sharapova’s parents took her to the U.S. when she was only eight.


Monday, September 26, 2005

Motorola's new mobiles

Motorola CEO Ed Zander holds up two new mobile devices he said will be available in December.

Maria Sharapova

The Motorola Q is a thin QWERTY-based phone that the company is positioning to compete against the BlackBerry. The pink Razr is a version of the clamshell-designed Razr that will be marketed with the help of tennis star Maria Sharapova.


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Maria to Meet Fans on Saturday

During their short stays in Seoul, Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams will have a couple of chances to meet South Korean fans in public.

Maria Sharapova

The two stars will have a fan meeting on Saturday at 2 p.m. in front of Hyundai Department Store in Samsung-dong, southern Seoul. On Sunday afternoon, they are scheduled to have a two-hour class with young tennis players at the Olympic Park. Maria is also planned to appear in a television show of MBC, which will be aired next Saturday.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Maria back on top!

Maria Sharapova
reclaimed the world number one spot in the WTA rankings released overnight as a result of her semi-final finish at the US Open.

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova became the first Russian woman to achieve the feat last month but the 18-year-old was displaced by American Lindsay Davenport after just four days.

1. Maria Sharapova (RUS) 4802 pts
2. Lindsay Davenport (USA) 4437
3. Kim Clijsters (BEL) 4201
4. Amelie Mauresmo (FRA) 3927
5. Justine Henin-Hardenne (BEL) 2935
6. Mary Pierce (FRA) 2908
7. Venus Williams (USA) 2826
8. Elena Dementieva (RUS) 2779
9. Serena Williams (USA) 2705
10. Nadia Petrova (RUS) 2512


Friday, September 09, 2005

Maria storms into Semi

Maria Sharapova turned up the power in the third set and survived her toughest test, turning back the challenge of fellow-Russian Nadia Petrova 7-5 4-6 6-4 to reach the U.S. Open semifinals.

Maria Sharapova

Maria, who had lost only 12 games in her first four victories, battled the ninth seed evenly over the first two sets of fierce hitting but questionable accuracy, before harnessing her power in the decisive third set of the quarter-final. Petrova, who has yet to win a WTA Tour singles title, battled back from 2-5 down in the third set and had two game points on her serve from 40-15 to level the set at 5-5. Maria Sharapova, however, forced deuce and claimed victory when Petrova's backhand drive drifted wide.
Maria will play either fourth seed Kim Clijsters of Belgium or 10th-seeded former Open champion Venus Williams of the United States.


Monday, September 05, 2005

Maria storms into Quarterfinal

Maria Sharapova ended the historic run of Indian teenager Sania Mirza at the U.S. Open on Sunday with a comprehensive 6-2 6-1 victory.

Maria Sharapova

Mirza, the first Indian woman to reach the fourth round of a grand slam tournament, traded crunching groundstrokes with the Russian world number two but was gradually overpowered. Maria Sharapova broke Mirza to lead 4-2 in the first set and then fended off three break points in the next game to build a commanding lead over the world number 42. "I'm playing pretty well, but it is going to get tougher and tougher," said Maria. This marks Maria Sharapova's first trip to the U.S. Open quarters in her third appearance here. The 2004 Wimbledon champ will meet her countrywoman Nadia Petrova in the quarterfinals.


Saturday, September 03, 2005

Maria storms into IV round

Maria Sharapova posted a straight-set victory over Julia Schruff of Germany in third-round action Friday at the U.S. Open.

Maria Sharapova

Maria was a third-round loser in Flushing a year ago. "I felt pretty good. It's good to get three matches in before the tough one's come," Maria said. "So far, so good."


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Maria storms into III round

Maria Sharapova breezed through to the third round of the US Open with a comprehensive straight-sets victory over Dally Randriantefy.

Maria Sharapova

The leggy Russian beauty was far too powerful for her Madagascan opponent and cruised to a quickfire 6-1, 6-0 victory, despite having to play in windy conditions. Maria, who did not appear to be hampered by the chest muscle strain that forced her out of an event in Los Angeles earlier this month, has lost just three games in her two matches at Flushing Meadows this week. Maria Sharapova next faces either Lisa Raymond of the United States or German Julia Schruff for a place in the final 16.



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