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Breakers score an ace

July 15, 2003

With Lindsay Davenport done for the remainder of the season, much of

the attention on the Newport Beach Breakers is bound to fall upon

Maria Sharapova. She is proving more than capable of handling the

spotlight.

Sharapova, a 16-year-old Russian ranked 57th in the world, won all

three sets she played for the Newport Beach World Team Tennis

franchise as the Breakers snapped a three-match losing streak with a

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24-19 victory over the host St. Louis Aces Monday at the Dwight Davis

Tennis Center.

The Breakers return home to the Palisades Tennis Club at 7 tonight

for a match against the New York Sportimes and John McEnroe. On

Wednesday, they play host to a rematch with St. Louis, also at 7 p.m.

at Palisades.

While McEnroe is sure to draw in fans to Tuesday's match, many

will most likely be leaving impressed by Sharapova.

Ranked seventh among World Team Tennis women's singles players

going into Monday, Sharapova had no problem dispatching Julia

Vakulenko, 5-3. She was also victorious in the mixed doubles set that

opened the match and followed that with a victory in women's doubles.

Sharapova teamed with Josh Eagle in mixed doubles, defeating

Nicole Arendt and John-Laffnie de Jager in a tiebreaker. She then

paired up with Eva Dyrberg for a 5-2 victory over Arendt and

Vakulenko in women's doubles, giving the Breakers a 10-6 overall

lead. World Team Tennis matches are based upon a cumulative score.

While Sharapova's success has been a constant throughout the first

week of the season, she also received help on this night, which

allowed the Breakers (2-4) to finally get back in the win column.

Eagle and Brian MacPhie played men's doubles in the third set of

the night and also won in a tiebreaker, defeating de Jager and Amir

Hadad. With Sharapova's victory in women's singles, the Breakers went

into the final set holding a 20-13 advantage.

But MacPhie lost the last set to Hadad, 5-3, forcing overtime.

World Team Tennis rules stipulate that if the trailing team wins the

final set, the match goes into overtime. The match doesn't end until

the leading team wins a game or the trailing team ties the score,

which would send the match into a supertiebreaker.

MacPhie avoided that fate, winning the second game of overtime to

seal the victory.

With McEnroe on the court tonight, the Breakers should expect a

difficult match. A winner of seven Grand Slam singles titles and 10

Grand Slam doubles titles, the 44-year-old has still shown himself to

be quite a tennis player. Going into play Monday, he ranked third in

the league in men's singles, winning 10 of the 17 games he had

played. In his first two matches this season with the Sportimes,

McEnroe had yet to lose a set in either men's singles or men's

doubles.

McEnroe's appearance will mark the third by one of the league's

marquee players at Newport Beach this season. Davenport played in the

Breakers' first two home matches. The last appearance by a marquee

player is scheduled for July 26, when Martina Navratilova will play

with the Philadelphia Freedoms.

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