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WORLD SPORT

Sharapova Russia's first WTA No. 1

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New world number one Sharapova is determined to be fit for the U.S. Open

LONDON, England -- Teen queen Maria Sharapova became the first Russian to reach the summit of women's tennis on Monday when named world No. 1 in the WTA rankings.

Although Sharapova was unable to repeat her 2004 Wimbledon win, she has finally ousted U.S. veteran Lindsay Davenport who led the way for 10 months.

Eighteen-year-old Sharapova had appeared on course to secure the top spot a week ago, needing only to reach the semifinals in Carson, California.

Her hopes then were dashed when a strained pectoral muscle began to bother her, forcing her to withdraw before her quarterfinal match.

Determined to be fit for the US Open, the final Grand Slam of the year that starts on August 29 in New York, Sharapova then missed the tournament in Toronto that ended on Sunday.

But with Davenport also idle, it didn't stop the glamorous Russian grabbing the coveted No. 1 days before the US Open draw.

"To be honest, I was surprised I was number one up until today," Davenport said Sunday as she prepared to compete in the US Open tuneup in New Haven, Connecticut.

For Sharapova, achieving the top spot while sitting on the sidelines took none of the gloss off the accomplishment.

"You have to achieve something in order to get there," she said as she looked toward her impending coronation.

"It has been an amazing two years. It has been all hard work and dedication. The achievement is amazing."

Belgian Kim Clijsters, who defeated compatriot Justine Henin-Hardenne in the Toronto final on Sunday, climbed four places to fourth behind Davenport and France's Amelie Mauresmo.

Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, struggling as her defense of her US Open title looms, fell a spot to fifth ahead of compatriot Elena Dementieva.

Henin-Hardenne dropped two places to seventh, while Australian Open champion Serena Williams fell one spot to eighth.

WTA World rankings

1. Maria Sharapova (Rus) 4452 pts

2. Lindsay Davenport (U.S.) 4300

3. Amelie Mauresmo (Fr) 3718

4. Kim Clijsters (Bel) 3179

5. Svetlana Kuznetsova (Rus) 3168

6. Elena Dementieva (Rus) 2987

7. Justine Henin-Hardenne (Bel) 2941

8. Serena Williams (USA) 2845

9. Nadia Petrova (RUS) 2720

10. Venus Williams (U.S.) 2658

11. Patty Schnyder (Swi) 2376

12. Mary Pierce (Fr) 2286

13. Anastasia Myskina (Rus) 2095

14. Alicia Molik (Aus) 1796

15. Nathalie Dechy (Fr) 1732

16. Elena Bovina (Rus) 1568

17. Jelena Jankovic (SEM) 1462.25

18. Ana Ivanovic (SEM) 1450.75

19. Vera Zvonareva (Rus) 1388

20. Elena Likhovtseva (Rus) 1356

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