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Sport - Tennis Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Russian media hails Maria

MOSCOW, JULY 4. Maria Sharapova not only beat Serena Williams at Wimbledon, but also beat out some of Russia's top political and business news on television news shows.

Her swift and efficient victory over the American on Saturday got extensive attention on TV news shows, with some broadcasts putting the tennis story ahead of a law-enforcement raid at the Yukos oil company — whose troubles have been one of Russia's most prominent ongoing stories — and the heated dispute for control of the Communist Party.

``Maria has ended the hegemony of the Williams sisters,'' the newspaper Sport-Ekspress crowed on its Web site.

``It's the second great victory for the homeland's tennis in less than a month,'' the report added, referring to Anastasia Myskina's win at the French Open in June over fellow Russian Elena Dementieva.

While the quality of play at the French Open final underwhelmed many, Sharapova's technique and self-assurance got excited notice in the Russian reports.

``All in all, Masha Sharapova gave up just five games to the menacing Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final!,'' said Sovietsky Sport, the country's other major sports newspaper, on its Web site, which also included her photos in a ``Hot Five'' sidebar of beautiful women athletes.

The 17-year-old appears to be in for a tidal wave of celebrity treatment.

``All the newspapers and channels are going to be writing about the Russian victor. Glorious attention awaits Maria Sharapova ... her career is just beginning,'' said commentator Andrei Cherkasov on NTV television, which gave her win nearly four minutes of coverage on its Sunday afternoon news show.

Russian newspapers don't publish Sunday editions, so Monday is likely to offer the first indicator of how intense the media coverage may be.

But in the competition for attention Monday, she faces an opponent even more formidable than Williams — the Euro 2004 soccer final. — AP

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