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Old Dec 30th, 2010, 06:10 AM   #1176
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

Sharapova signing session big hit


Maria Sharapova was in hot demand on Auckland's Viaduct Harbour this evening as tennis fans queued for her autograph.
Sharapova, along with Svetlana Kuznetsova and Yanina Wickmayer, put aside the risk of wrist injury ahead of next week's ASB Classic at the signing session.
About 200 fans -- including a few news reporters -- were seen queuing as they sought signatures on posters, shirts, tennis balls, mobile phones and even yo-yos.
Tournament officials were expecting some of the signed items to find their way onto popular trading websites in the next few days.
Many young girls were among those queuing, though second in line was 63-year-old Emily Poulsen from the North Shore.
"I love tennis and I especially love Maria Sharapova, so getting the chance to see her is amazing," she said.
Kuznetsova and Wickmayer took time out to test out a serving net, but the popular Sharapova didn't get a break during 40 minutes of signing duties.
None of the players spoke to media after the signing session, though Kuznetsova was clearly keen to make a splash as she whacked a tennis ball into Waitemata Harbour just before leaving.
Sharapova, a triple grand slam singles title winner and the world's highest-paid female athlete, is top seed at the ASB Classic, which starts on Monday.
She has spent much of her time since arriving in New Zealand practising, and today she had a session hitting with New Zealander Sacha Jones, who has a wild card entry into the ASB Classic.
Wickmayer, the defending champion, is the second seed and Kuznetsova, a dual grand slam winner, is third seed.
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