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Serene Sharapova looks forward to Olympics

Maria Sharapova struck a philosophical tone after her dreams of securing a 25th WTA title at her first Paris Open were shattered by German ninth seed Angelique Kerber.

sports Updated: Feb 11, 2012 12:01 IST
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Maria Sharapova struck a philosophical tone after her dreams of securing a 25th WTA title at her first Paris Open were shattered by German ninth seed Angelique Kerber on Friday.

Sharapova, who lost to Victoria Azarenka in the Australian Open final last month, struggled for consistency throughout and failed to save any of the five break points that Kerber procured over the course of her 6-4, 6-4 success.

"Of course, in every tournament you want to get to the final on Sunday," said Sharapova, who is set to rise one place to second in the WTA ranking on Monday despite her defeat at Stade Pierre de Coubertin.

"You also have to be realistic. Sometimes you have a day that isn't a good day. You have to move on and learn from your mistakes.

"I know I could've played better, so that makes me feel better. If I'd played really well and lost, there'd be something wrong."

Kerber made it to the last four at last year's US Open but had never previously won against a top-10 player and Sharapova praised the improvements in her game.

"She's someone that's been playing really good tennis in the last six months and she had a good run at the US Open," said the 24-year-old Russian.

"She's starting to really break through. Being a leftie obviously gives her an edge as there aren't many of them around.

"She has a great game -- she's aggressive, she stays low and she runs well. She has many plusses to her game."

Having reached at least the semi-finals in three of the last four Grand Slams in which she has competed, Sharapova appears to be closing in on a first Grand Slam crown since the 2008 Australian Open.

While a fourth major title remains high on her list of priorities, she revealed that she was particularly excited about the Olympic tournament at London's All England Club next summer.

"The Olympics are very important," she said.

"The grasscourt season is something I'm really looking forward to. Playing at Wimbledon twice in a row will be so special for all of us.

"Coming from Russia, growing up there, being an Olympic athlete is something that everyone wants to accomplish.

"I couldn't compete in Beijing (in 2008) so I'm really looking forward to the whole experience -- not just competing, but meeting the other athletes, watching the parade and all that."

Sharapova now faces almost a month off until the start of the Indian Wells Masters on March 7, but despite her fondness for Paris, she revealed she would not be hanging around in the City of Lights.

"The great thing now is that I have a few weeks off so I have a lot of time to improve things, get on court and get ready for the big tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami," said the Florida native.

"I haven't been home in a while. As much as I love Paris, I'm very happy to be going home to sleep in my own bed."