Sharapova targets top spot in rankings

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Melbourne, Jan 17 (IANS) World No.2 Maria Sharapova has expressed her desire to reclaim the top rankings by winning the Australian Open tennis tournament beginning Monday.

But the Russian expected a tough fight from several worthy contenders, particularly current World No 1 Serena Williams.

Sharapova has an opportunity to reclaim the top rank position should she win in Melbourne. She won the tournament in 2008.

She was at the perch of the women’s rankings on five separate occasions, for a total of 21 weeks, claiming the spot for the first time in 2005 at the age of 18.

“Look, obviously No.1 is a ranking that every single player wants to grab and works so hard for,” Sharapova was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald Saturday.

“There’s a lot of players that have an opportunity to get there, and I’m one of them. I am, of course, determined to do that. But by doing that you need to win more matches than the person that’s in first place. So that’s the goal.”

The five-time Grand Slam winner begins her Australian Open campaign against a qualifier in the first round and could face No.7 Eugenie Bouchard in the quarter-finals and No.5 Ana Ivanovic, whom she beat in the Brisbane International final last weekend, in the semis.

She could then meet Serena Williams in the final.

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