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Sharapova: sweet sixteen in Paris
By Araz Gulekjian
Thursday, May 22, 2003

Sixteen years young, precocious Russian Maria Sharapova looks set to win through the Roland-Garros qualifiers for a place in the first round. After raising a few eyebrows with her first "qualies" win over compatriot Anastassia Rodionova (N°4), Sharapova rolled over Venezuelan hopeful Maria Vento-Kabchi 6/3, 6/1 in her second outing today.

Ranked 138 in the world, Sharapova is one win away from taking part in her first French Open - her second major of the season having already qualified in Melbourne last January. A losing finalist at both Wimbledon and the Australian Open as a Junior in 2002, she is a newcomer to the pro circuit. Though still sweet sixteen, she boasts three tournament wins to her name and has picked up 25 000 dollars in prize-money along the way.

A product of the Nick Bolletieri Tennis Academy in Florida, her not inconsiderable charms have led the media to greet Sharapova as the natural successor to Anna Kournikova - and like the latter, she knows how to keep her distance. When approached by this reporter following her victory over Vento, she refused our request for a post-match interview. Her father, Colombian Mauricio Hadad, an ex- player himself, stepped in to play the role of the protective dad to perfection....

Whatever you say coach!

"Maria is hitting the ball well at the moment" said Hadad, when he finally conceded to talk with us. She's been training on European clay in Florida. Of course she can still get a lot better on this surface but her potential is enormous. She's a future great."

Like many other "Academy" graduates, Sharapova is all power: her ferocious two-handed backhand and wicked first service make her a formidable opponent. And she's no shrinking violet when it comes to slugging it out either. "If she makes it to the first round, nobody will want to be drawn against her" says Hadad. Whatever you say coach!
 

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tenn_ace said:
"If she makes it to the first round, nobody will want to be drawn against her" says Hadad. Whatever you say coach!
I don't think the topseeds are scared of her ;)
 

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Hadad... Mmm starting to become Damir like with some of those comments, Im sure that Maria would have been glad to have given comment.

GOOD LUCK MARIA!!!
 

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:rolleyes: at the Journo :eek: LMAO dunno where they got this idiot from.
 

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This was ridiculous! :mad: Who is this Hadad character? And why is he speaking for Maria? And he shouldn't be running his mouth about players not wanting to play Maria in the first round of the French Open. He said that after Maria's second round qualifying win. She hadn't even qualified for the French Open yet and this guy was talking her up! :fiery: Maria barely made the main draw! :eek: And she had to save an amazing 6 match points to do so. Good for her. But IMG needs to pull the plug on promoting Maria so heavily so early in her career.
 
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