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Maria Sharapova

Maria SharapovaMaria SharapovaMaria SharapovaMaria SharapovaMaria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova, born April 19, 1987 in Nyagan, Russian is a professional tennis player. As of June 11, 2012 she is ranked World No. 1. A United States resident since 1994, Sharapova has won 27 WTA singles titles, including four Grand Slam singles titles at the 2004 Wimbledon, 2006 US Open, 2008 Australian Open, and 2012 French Open. She has also won the year-end WTA Tour Championships in 2004. The Women's Tennis Association has ranked Sharapova World No. 1 in singles on five separate occasions. She became the world no. 1 for the first time on August 22, 2005, and recently regained the ranking for the fifth time on June 11, 2012. She has been in seven Grand Slam finals with a record of 4–3.

Sharapova made her professional breakthrough in 2004 at age 17, when she defeated two-time defending champion and top seed Serena Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final for her first Grand Slam singles title. She entered the top 10 of the WTA Rankings with the win. Despite not winning a major in 2005, Sharapova briefly held the no. 1 ranking, and reached three Grand Slam semifinals, losing to the eventual champion each time. She won her second major at the 2006 US Open defeating then-world no. 1 Amélie Mauresmo in the semifinals and world no. 2 Justine Henin in the final. Sharapova's 2007 season was plagued with a chronic shoulder injury and saw her ranking fall out of the top 5 for the first time in two years. She won her third Grand Slam at the 2008 Australian Open, defeating Henin in the quarterfinals and Ana Ivanović in the final. After reclaiming the no. 1 ranking in May 2008, Sharapova's shoulder problems re-surfaced, requiring surgery in October and forcing her out of the game for 10 months.

Sharapova returned in May 2009 and was ranked no. 126 in the world due to her extensive lay-off. Since her comeback, Sharapova has won eight singles titles bringing her career total to 27, including the 2012 French Open, and returned to the top of the rankings in June 2012. Sharapova has been featured in a number of modeling assignments, including a feature in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She has been featured in many advertisements, including for Nike, Prince and Canon, and is the face of several fashion houses, most notably Cole Haan. Sharapova was the most searched-for athlete on Yahoo! in 2005 and 2008. Since February 2007, she has been a United Nations Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador, concerned specifically with the Chernobyl Recovery and Development Programme. In June 2011, she was named one of the "30 Legends of Women's Tennis: Past, Present and Future" by Time Magazine, and in March 2012 was named one of the "100 Greatest of All Time" by the Tennis Channel.

Maria Sharapova's parents, Yuri and Elena, are from Gomel, Belarus. Concerned about the regional effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, they left their homeland shortly before Sharapova was born. When Sharapova was two years old, the family moved to Sochi. There her father befriended Aleksandr Kafelnikov, whose son Yevgeny would go on to win two Grand Slam singles titles and become Russia's first Number One world-ranked tennis player. Aleksandr gave Sharapova her first tennis racquet at the age of four, whereupon she began practicing regularly with her father at a local park. She took her first tennis lessons with veteran Russian coach Yuri Yutkin, who was instantly impressed when he saw her play, noting her "exceptional hand-eye coordination."

Sharapova is a Russian Orthodox Christian and always used to wear a cross while playing tennis. At the age of seven, Sharapova attended a tennis clinic in Moscow run by Martina Navratilova, who recommended professional training at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida, which had previously trained players such as Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, and Anna Kournikova. With money tight, Yuri was forced to borrow the sum that would allow him and his daughter, neither of whom could speak English, to travel to the United States, which they finally did in 1994, but visa restrictions prevented Sharapova's mother from joining them for two years. Arriving in Florida with savings of US$700, Sharapova's father took various low-paying jobs, including dish-washing, to fund her lessons until she was old enough to be admitted to the academy. In 1995, she was signed by IMG, who agreed to pay the annual tuition fee of $35,000 for Sharapova to stay at the academy, allowing her to finally enroll at the age of 9.

Sharapova withdrew from the Rogers Cup tournament in August due to a shoulder injury. An MRI scan revealed that she had been suffering from a rotator cuff tear since April, forcing her out of all tournaments for the rest of the season, including the Beijing Olympics, the US Open, and the WTA Tour Championships. In spite of that, she still finished the year ranked world number 9. In October, after a failed attempt to rehabilitate the shoulder, Sharapova had surgery to repair the tear. Sharapova withdrew from the 2012 Brisbane International because of her ongoing ankle injury. Her first tournament of the season was the 2012 Australian Open, where she was seeded fourth. Sharapova advanced to the fourth round conceding just five games, defeating Gisela Dulko, Jamie Hampton, and the 30th seed Angelique Kerber en route. In the fourth round, Sharapova defeated the fourteenth seed Sabine Lisicki in three sets, 3–6, 6–2, 6–3, to reach her first hardcourt Grand Slam quarterfinal in four years. She then defeated compatriot Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets, 6–2, 6–3, to reach the semifinals. There she defeated the world no. 2 Petra Kvitová, 6–2, 3–6, 6–4, to reach her third Australian Open final, and her sixth grand slam singles final overall. She lost to Victoria Azarenka in the final 3–6, 0–6. As a result her ranking improved to world no. 3.

In February, Sharapova aided Russia to a 3–2 victory over Spain during the 2012 Fed Cup quarterfinal with a 6–2, 6–1 win over Silvia Soler-Espinosa.[78] She then played in the Paris, where she lost in the quarterfinal to eventual champion Angelique Kerber 4–6, 4–6. As a result her ranking improved to World No. 2. At the Indian Wells, Sharapova faced Gisela Dulko in the first round and won 6–2, 6–0. Sharapova defeated Simona Halep and Roberta Vinci en route to reaching the quarterfinals. After battling for over three hours, she defeated compatriot Maria Kirilenko, 3–6 7–5 6–2, to set up a semifinal meeting with Ana Ivanovic. Sharapova won the first set 6–4 and advanced to the final after Ivanovic retired due to a hip injury. In the final, she played world no. 1 Victoria Azarenka in a rematch of the Australian Open final, but lost again 2–6, 3–6.

Sharapova's next tournament was the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open, where she was seeded 2nd. She received a bye to the second round where she faced Shahar Peer and won in three sets 4–6, 6–3, 6–3. Her next opponent was Sloane Stephens, where Sharapova won in straight sets 6–4, 6–2. In the fourth round she won in straight sets, 6–4, 7–6, against countrywoman Ekaterina Makarova and advanced to the quarterfinals where she faced Li Na, whom she beat 6–3, 6–0. Her semifinal opponent was fellow former world no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. After an inconsistent first set, Sharapova won the match 4–6, 6–2, 6–4. In the final, Maria lost in straight sets to 5th seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 7–5, 6–4. This was her third loss of the year in finals out of four tournaments played so far.

Sharapova's next tournament was the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was seeded second. She had a bye in the first round, and advanced to the third round after Alize Cornet retired in the second set. In the quarterfinal, she defeated No. 5 Samantha Stosur after saving a match point in the second set, and advanced to the final with a 6–4, 7–6(3) win over No. 3 Petra Kvitova. She won her first title of the year in Stuttgart after defeating world number one Victoria Azarenka 6–1, 6–4. In doing so, Sharapova defeated three current Grand Slam title holders to win the tournament. It was also her first win against Victoria Azarenka in five finals, and the third of such this season. Sharapova's next tournament was a premier mandatory event, the 2012 Mutua Madrid Open. She eased through the first round in straight sets against Irina-Camelia Begu 6–0, 6–3. In the next round she faced Klara Zakopalova and also won in straight sets with 6–4, 6–3. In the third round Sharapova's opponent Lucie Safarova was unable to compete and withdrew from the tournament, earning Sharapova a walkover into the quarterfinals. She was then beaten by eventual champion Serena Williams in straight sets.

As the defending champion and number two seed at the Italian Open, Sharapova had a bye in the first round. She battled through the first round against 20 year-old Christina McHale and prevailed 7–5, 7–5. She then faced thirteenth seed Ana Ivanovic and won 7–6(4), 6–3 in 1 hour 47 minutes to advance to the quarterfinals. Sharapova then defeated former world no. 1 Venus Williams 6–4, 6–3, meaning that Sharapova has reached the quarterfinals or better in all nine tournaments she has played this year. In the semifinals, Sharapova avenged her defeat to Angelique Kerber in Paris earlier in the year by beating her 6–3, 6–4 to advance to the final for the second year in a row. In the final, Maria saved match point for a 2 hour 52 minute, 4–6, 6–4, 7–6(5) win over Li Na for her 26th career title. This marked the fourth time Sharapova had successfully defended a title.

Sharapova was seeded 2nd in the French Open where she defeated Sara Errani in both competitors' first French Open final. By reaching the final, she regained the world no. 1 ranking. Coincidentally, the last time Sharapova was No. 1 was right before the 2008 French Open, due to the sudden retirement of then No. 1 Justine Henin, a four times Roland Garros champion. Sharapova became only the 10th woman to complete a career grand slam with the French Open 2012 victory. She is the first player ever, male or female, to win a Grand Slam title after undergoing shoulder surgery.

More about Maria at: www.mariasharapova.com

source: www.wikipedia.org


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