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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 September 2006, 01:53 GMT 02:53 UK
Sharapova powers to US Open title
Maria Sharapova
Sharapova had lost five Grand Slam semis before New York
Maria Sharapova claimed the second Grand Slam title of her career with victory over Justine Henin-Hardenne in the US Open final on Saturday.

The 19-year-old Russian added the Flushing Meadows crown to her 2004 Wimbledon title with a 6-4 6-4 win.

She lost her opening service game but hit back with two breaks on her way to winning the first set.

And Sharapova, serving magnificently, took the second set with one break to win in one hour 30 minutes.

After a nervous start that saw her slip 2-0 behind, the third seed simply got better and better as the match progressed.

Henin-Hardenne won this year's French Open but has now lost in the other three Grand Slam finals, and she looked to suffer from a lack of matches.

I'm so happy it's here in New York in my favourite city in the world

Maria Sharapova

The Belgian played just one tournament between the Wimbledon and the US Open due to injury and she never really hit her stride.

From the moment Sharapova broke back in the third game she looked the more likely winner, even mixing up the pace of her groundstrokes and approaching the net on occasions.

It was the teenager's serve that was the key, however, with five aces telling the story less effectively than the fact she faced just one break point in the match.

"I figured I lost the last four times to Justine, so I figured I had to do the total opposite," said Sharapova.

"But I have to congratulate her on an amazing career and reaching all four finals this year."

Breaks of serve in game nine of the first set and game eight of the second proved the decisive moments, and Sharapova appeared nerveless when serving out for victory.

Having waited two years since Wimbledon to cement her Grand Slam credentials, Sharapova screamed and leapt in delight before heading into the stands to hug her father, Yuri.

"I'm so happy it's here in New York in my favourite city in the world," said Sharapova.

Henin-Hardenne said: "I want to congratulate Maria, she played great today and the last two weeks and deserves her victory.

"The best player won tonight and I hope I'll have another chance in the future."

Sharapova thrilled by title win
10 Sep 06 |  Tennis
Gamewatch: Sharapova v Henin
10 Sep 06 |  Tennis

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