Friday, July 8, 2011

Maria Sharapova Tennis Champion

Maria Sharapova Practice for 2011 U.S. Open
Maria Sharapova: A lost champion? – Tennis Special

Rated at number five in WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) world rankings, Russia’s Maria Sharapova is one of the few women tennis stars who have achieved a great deal of fame in the shortest possible time.

Former world number one, 24-year-old Sharapova has bagged 23 WTA and 4 ITF (International Tennis Federation) championship titles in her 10-year illustrious professional tennis career. She reached the top of women’s tennis rankings in 2005 and has won three Grand Slam tournaments till date.

The Russian beauty came under lime light seven years ago when she wore the Wimbledon Championships crown in 2004, at the age of 17. Sharapova is the third youngest women tennis player to have won a Wimbledon singles title, after Lottie Dod and Martina Hingis. She climbed to the world number one spot the very next year and carried on her sublime form to win her first US Open title in 2006.

Sharapova’s third and last Grand Slam triumph came at the Australian Open in 2008, when she didn’t drop a single set in the entire tournament and took down Ana Ivanovic in the final to lift the gold. She has never gone past the semi-finals at Roland Garros, making it to the round of four once in 2007 and then again in 2011.

The former world number one has been struggling to get back her vintage form back in the past few years and her Grand Slam campaigns have not been fruitful at all. Sharapova suffered early round ejections in the major tournaments during the last few seasons and it was presumed by many that there is nothing more left in the Russian for winning another Grand Slam title.

24-year-old Sharapova failed to avoid a fourth round disposal at the Australian Open in January this year but she started to get her classy touch back in the later tournaments. She made it to her second French Open semi-final in June but was once again defeated by the eventual champion, Li Na of China, still managing to climb up to the world number six spot.

She proved all the speculations against her wrong in her Wimbledon Championship campaign in July, when she beat all the odds to reach her first Grand Slam final after her career-threatening shoulder injury. The Russian was expected to replicate the majestic performance she exhibited in 2004 final against the defending champion, Serena Williams, but the world number eight, Petra Kvitova, proved way too tough for her to take down. Sharapova lost to Kvitova in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4 to mark an end to her Wimbledon campaign.

Many Russian fans believed that it was the right time for Sharapova to prove her presence in the winners’ circle by bagging Wimbledon trophy but it was just not her day. She was seeded five in the tournament and didn’t drop a single set en route to the final, winning all the six initial round matches in straight sets. It is to be noted that Sharapova didn’t face a single top-15 seed player all the way to the final and has been getting relatively easier competitors to face. This was the only cause of her poor failure in the final against the eighth seed Kvitova, who absolutely manhandled Sharapova in the contest.

Sharapova has clinched the world number five spot in women’s rankings after the Wimbledon loss but it looks pretty hard task now for the Russian to win a Grand Slam title. The typical Sharapova spark and aggression is missed in her game by many fans and with her persistent injuries, her career might be curtailed. Nevertheless, Sharapova’s feats on tennis courts are truly amazing and she might gather up her strengths to make a comeback in the Grand Slam winners’ circle in the upcoming US Open.

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