Maria Sharapova won her second Grand Slam title in 2006, at the age of 19, beating Justine Henin-Hardenne 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the US Open. En route to the final she also beat the then World No.1 Amelie Mauresmo in the semi-finals. She added the Flushing Meadows crown to her 2004 Wimbledon title with an impressive display, winning in one hour and 30 minutes. She lost her opening service game to go 0-2 down to Henin-Hardenne, but hit back with two breaks to win the first set. Then, serving magnificently, she needed just one service break to clinch the second set and the match.
Suffering from the heat in Melbourne in January 2007, at the end of the Laureus qualifying year, Sharapova nonetheless reached the finals of the Australian Open where she succumbed to a rejuvenated Serena Williams. Despite this disappointment, she was confirmed as the new World No.1, having previously topped the rankings in August 2005. During 2006, she also won the Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells, Acura Classic, Zurich Open and Generali Ladies.
Her first Grand Slam win was at Wimbledon in 2004, when she became the second youngest ladies singles champion in the Open Era - at 17 years, 2 months.
Sharapova's parents had moved from Belarus to Siberia in 1986 after the Chernobyl nuclear accident and she was born the following year. At seven, she was taken to the United States to attend the Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida and has lived in the US since, although she retains Russian citizenship.