Maria Sharapova Leads O3 Dominance Down Under En Route to Third Grand Slam Title

January 28, 2008

Bordentown, NJ -– At only twenty years old, Maria Sharapova has already captured three of tennis’ four Grand Slam titles. With her Prince O3 White in hand, Sharapova soundly knocked off the No.1, No. 3, and No. 4 seeds on her way to capturing her first-ever Australian Open title.

From the moment she took to the court for her first round match carrying her new gold racquet bag over her shoulder, Sharapova was completely focused on the task at hand. The fifth seed, who dedicated much of the off season to her fitness, showed no signs of an ailing shoulder that plagued her for much of 2007. Rather, over the course of two weeks, Sharapova made clear that she was the one to beat – wowing crowds with a display of power, shot-making and the controlled intensity she is known for – ultimately defeating Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 6-3 in the finals.

“It has been such an amazing two weeks and an awesome start to 2008,” said Sharapova after the win. “Everything just felt right – the way it should. It is nice to be able to head out on court knowing I am in good shape physically, have the best equipment and completely focused. It allows me to play my game and do what I need to do to win a championship as tough as this. I will never forget this experience and hope to keep it going throughout the year.”

Sharapova, who won her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon when she was seventeen, was one of the first players on the tour to pick up a racquet with Prince’s ground-breaking O3 technology. She made the switch to the O3 White in 2006, before going on to capture the US Open title that same year. Since its introduction, O3 has converted more than 100 ATP and WTA touring pros, including the world’s #5 men’s singles player (Nikolay Davydenko), #1 men’s doubles team (Bob and Mike Bryan), four of the world’s top ten women’s singles players (Jankovic, Sharapova, Hantuchova, Bartoli), five of the top six women’s doubles players (Huber, Raymond, Srebotnik, Stosur and Sugiyama), and a host of young up and comers (John Isner, Sam Querrey, Shahar Peer). In fact, at this year’s Australian Open, for the first time ever, three of the four women in the singles semifinals (including Sharapova) were playing racquets with O3 technology. Serbian Jelena Jankovic played her first major with the new O3 Speedport Pro White using it to knock off last year’s champion Serena Williams in straight sets before running into Sharapova in the semis. On the other side of the draw, breakout star Daniela Hantuchova, made her first Grand Slam semi-final appearance carrying the Ozone Seven, a racquet she made the switch to last summer. Since making her switch to O3, Hantuchova has steadily climbed in the rankings and when the new rankings come out on Monday Hantuchova is expected to move to #8 – a career high for the 24 year-old Slovakian.

Sharapova did not drop a set throughout the tournament and the win marks her seventeenth career WTA singles title overall.