Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Sharapova retires at 32; Volynets, 18, falls in Acapulco

Maria Sharapova, one of six women to achieve a career
Grand Slam, collected five major singles titles. She reportedly
earned $325 million during her career, mostly from endorse-
ments. 2014 photo by Paul Bauman
   Maria Sharapova, one of six women to earn a career Grand Slam in the Open era, announced her retirement in an essay that appeared today in Vogue and Vanity Fair.
   Plagued by shoulder injuries, the former world No. 1 has plunged to No. 373. In her last match, she lost to 19th-seeded Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the Australian Open to fall to 0-2 this year. Vekic reached the semifinals of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, Calif., last August and the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in September.
   "Throughout my career, Is it worth it? was never even a question – in the end, it always was," wrote the 32-year-old Sharapova, the runner-up to Victoria Azarenka in the 2010 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford. "My mental fortitude has always been my strongest weapon. Even if my opponent was physically stronger, more confident – even just plain better – I could, and did, persevere."
   The 6-foot-2 (1.88-meter) Sharapova won five Grand Slam singles titles overall, bookended by her victory over Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2004 at 17 and the French Open 10 years later.
   By winning the 2012 French Open, Sharapova joined Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Serena Williams as the only women to achieve a career Grand Slam in singles in the Open era.
   Sharapova ranks 15th in the Open era with 36 tour-level singles titles. The last one came in Tianjin, China, in 2017, six months after she returned from a 15-month doping suspension.
   Forbes magazine reported that Sharapova earned $325 million during her career, mostly from endorsements.
   Volynets loses – In a matchup of wild cards, Renata Zarazua of Mexico outlasted 18-year-old Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area 4-6, 7-5, 6-0 in 2 hours, 42 minutes in the second round of the Abierto Mexicano in Acapulco.
   Volynets, who won the USTA 18 National Championships last August and turned pro in December, beat American Shelby Rogers on Tuesday for her first WTA Tour victory.
   The 22-year-old Zarazua, 5-foot-3 (1.60 meters), reached her first WTA International Level quarterfinal. She ousted top-seeded Sloane Stephens, a 26-year-old Fresno, Calif., product, in the first round.

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