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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 June, 2005, 13:55 GMT 14:55 UK
2. Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova
Born: 19/4/87
Nationality: Russian
Seeded: 2
World ranking: 2
Wimbledon best:
Champion (2004)
Recent record:
2004:
Champion
2003: 4th round
2002: N/A

Maria Sharapova turned heads at Wimbledon last year, and not only because it was the scene of her first Grand Slam victory.

The glamourous 18-year-old wowed the crowds with her thudding groundstrokes on court and her poise and determination off it.

Sharapova had battled her way to the final, dispatching three seeds along the way to set up a meeting with top seed Serena Williams.

And Williams could find no answer to the unshakeable Sharapova, who took the title in straight sets.

Sharapova's form dipped in the immediate aftermath of her Wimbledon victory and she had to wait until October to win another singles title in Seoul.

But she took the season-ending Championship crown - again denying Williams - and has remained consistent in 2005.

The Russian reached the Australian Open semi-finals for the first time and has added the Tokyo and Doha titles to her career record.

She also played solidly at the French Open before running out of gas against a resurgent Justine Henin-Hardenne in the quarter-finals.

Sharapova has so far remained focused on her tennis, despite her extra-curricular modelling work and TV appearances.

And if she is able to retain the hunger for success that spurred her on last season, Sharapova will have a second Wimbledon crown and the world number one spot in her sights.



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