Maria Yuryevna Kirilenko (Russian: Мари́я Ю́рьевна Кириле́нко; born in Moscow on 25 January 1987) is a Russian professional tennis player. Kirilenko won her first WTA Tour title in 2005, defeating Anna-Lena Grönefeld in the China Open. Kirilenko reached 18, her career-high singles ranking, on the WTA tour in July 2008. She won the junior event at the 2002 Canadian Open, as well as the 2002 US Open junior tournament. She has reached one Grand Slam quarterfinal at the 2010 Australian Open. As of 4 July 2011, Kirilenko is ranked World No. 25.
Maria Kirilenko started showing a passion towards tennis at age 5, but it was difficult to get practice in while still attending school. Her father enrolled her in a tennis school, and hours of training started to pay off as she won several tournaments.
When Kirilenko was twelve years old, an Honored Master of sports, Elena Brioukhovets, saw her while training. Brioukhovets watched Maria making progress offered to work with her. A three-year program was made and a special team was selected. In less than three years Maria became number one in her age group and number two in the 18 and under group. The well-known tennis-players who had created an organization supporting young tennis players included Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Andrei Olhovskiy and Max Mirnyi.
In 2002 Kirilenko became one of the youngest winners of the Canadian Open and the US Open Junior Tournaments.
She obtained an invite from Hong Kong Tennis Patrons' Association to play Hong Kong Tennis Classic and won Gold Group Championships with her compatriots Vera Zvonareva and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. At the Australian Open she failed to defend her quarterfinal points by being knocked out in the second round. However, in the doubles competition, she reached the final partnered with Victoria Azarenka but lost to Pennetta and Dulko. The Kirilenko/Azarenka team managed to win the Mutua Madrid Open. At the French Open, she reached the third round in singles and reached the quarterfinals in the doubles event.
Kirilenko successfully defended her points earned from 2010 in the 2011 Wimbledon Championships by reaching the 3rd round, evenutally being stopped by the No. 7 seeded Serena Williams.
Kirilenko is an aggressive baseliner, with both power and angle in her shots. She also has good speed around the court and can switch quickly between offensive and defensive play. Her forehand is her preferred shot, often setting up points and a great asset towards her game. Unlike many female players in recent years, Kirilenko is not afraid to come to the net. Her volleying skills are considered exceptional,
as she utilizes a drop volley, angled volley, and half volley all very well to quickly end the rally.
In 2006, Kirilenko was selected to be the face of Adidas by Stella McCartney tennis range, designed by noted British fashion designer Stella McCartney and has played exclusively in the gear since the 2006 Australian Open. In 2009, she was replaced by Caroline Wozniacki.
Like her good friend Maria Sharapova, she likes connecting athletics and fashion, and when she spoke to Teen Vogue in August 2006, she said of being dressed by McCartney for a banquet, "I felt so glamorous!"She appeared in the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition alongside Daniela Hantuchová and Tatiana Golovin in a pictoral entitled Volley of the Dolls.
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