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Rough night for Sharapova

Former Wimbledon champion suffers 5-0 loss in women's singles and loses in mixed doubles for Newport Beach Tuesday.

July 21, 2010|By David Carrillo Penaloza
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

NEWPORT BEACH — The Newport Beach Breakers are in such a funk they desperately needed Maria Sharapova to help them get out of it on the court.

The three-time Grand Slam singles champion arrived at The Tennis Club in Newport Beach dressed in black Tuesday. The appropriate color because the Breakers said their goodbyes to the World Team Tennis playoff hopes.

With two matches left, Newport Beach has no chance to return to the postseason, despite beating the Kansas City Explorers, 19-18, in a super tiebreaker. The Breakers can only blame themselves after losing seven of their last 10 matches.

Sharapova played her part in her only appearance with the Breakers this season. She said she went into the match against the Explorers (7-5) following Newport Beach's season.

"I sometimes turn on the Tennis Channel when some of the matches are on, so I'll get to watch a little bit," Sharapova said. "I mean, [I] don't go every day and see everyone's score and everything."

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The scores have not been in Newport Beach's favor since it began the season with two wins. The Breakers (5-7) hoped to change their losing ways. Having Sharapova was their best shot.

The 6-foot-2 Sharapova brought her boyfriend, Sasha Vujacic, as a good luck charm. Vujacic, a member of the Los Angeles Lakers' recent back-to-back championship teams, seemed too busy looking into the stands, wishing someone would notice he played for the Lakers.

The beanie over Vujacic's head did not help his cause. Sharapova looked like she wanted to pull it over hers after the night's opening set.

Sharapova played mixed doubles with David Martin, who tried to outshine the Russian beauty before the match. During player introductions, Martin tried to dance before attempting the "worm."

Martin and Sharapova moved likes worms against Samuel Groth and Jarmila Groth. The married couple fought back for a 5-3 victory.

In the sixth game, the 6-4 Samuel ripped a serve toward Sharapova. What Sharapova's racquet got a hold of was just wind. She whiffed, drawing a few "oohs and aahs" from the crowd.

Fans began to notice that Sharapova is not the same player who claimed Wimbledon in 2004, the U.S. Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008. The 23-year-old thinks otherwise.

"If I didn't feel like I had it in me, I wouldn't be going out on the court every day and working to become a better player," Sharapova said. "I wouldn't be fighting to win my tennis matches."

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