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Старый 14th June 2004, 12:37
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Re: Зарубежная пресса о теннисе

SHARAPOVA EYES WIMBLEDON GLORY
SportingLife

Russian teenage sensation Maria Sharapova has her sights set on becoming the youngest Wimbledon champion since Martina Hingis seven years ago.

The 17-year-old from Siberia, the youngest of six Russian girls in the world's top 15, claimed a 4-6 6-2 6-1 victory over unseeded French youngster Tatiana Golovin in the final of the DFS Classic in Birmingham.

It was Sharapova's third WTA tour singles success but her first on grass and she will head for London this week with realistic hopes of going all the way after reaching the fourth round as a relative unknown a year ago.

The Florida-based youngster displays the same maturity and single-minded determination that helped Hingis to victory at Wimbledon three months before her 17th birthday.

And she admits she could not be in better shape as she seeks to improve on her quarter-final showing in the French Open.

"To win my first title on grass is a very big achievement and, of course, it's great preparation for Wimbledon," she said.

"I've got to look ahead now and prepare for Wimbledon with this tournament in my pocket. It was only a practice tournament but winning it is fantastic.

"Judging from the way that I have been playing this past week, I feel very confident. I'm comfortable on grass and I've got plenty of matches in.

"Match play is not the key right now, it's rest and practice. I will work on a few things that I felt weren't working well and try to improve those. So far I'm feeling very good."

Sharapova, whose glamorous looks and brilliant tennis skills helped draw capacity crowds to the Edgbaston tournament, also believes her victory in the doubles at Birmingham will help her preparations for Wimbledon.

"Playing doubles helps my game," she said.

"I don't think my game is 100% perfect at the moment. There are a lot of things I can learn.

"I'm not going to play doubles all year long but I use doubles as a kind of practice for new things and try them out."

Sharapova dusted herself down from her singles triumph to team up with fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko to beat Lisa McShea, of Australia, and Milagros Sequera, of Venezuela, 6-2 6-1.
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