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Author`s name Alex Naumov

Sharapova’s fans demand her toilet seat to be auctioned

Officials have drawn the line at auctioning the hotel toilet seat to be used by Maria Sharapova when the Russian trendsetter plays an exhibition next weekend in Singapore.

"Since there's an interest for products that Sharapova will use during her stay here, we want to do this tastefully," organiser Jerry Goh told Singapore's New Paper on Sunday.

"So no toilet seats or covers will be offered for auction."

Sharapova was granted qualification to the 2007 WTA Tour Championships only by virtue of Venus Williams's withdrawal, as Sharapova was ranked only #9 on the Race rankings going into the event. Playing only her second match in two months, Sharapova beat Daniela Hantuchová 6-4, 7-5 in her first round-robin match, before coming from a set down to defeat Svetlana Kuznetsova 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 to ensure a place in the semifinals.

In her third and final round robin match, Sharapova gained revenge against Ana Ivanović 6-1, 6-2 in just over an hour, meaning she topped her group. Sharapova then defeated Anna Chakvetadze 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinals to advance to the championship match. She then lost to top-ranked Henin 5-7 7-5 6-3 in a dramatic match that lasted 3 hours and 24 minutes: the 12th longest tour match in the Open Era.

Sharapova ended the year as number 5 on the official WTA tour rankings, her fourth year in a row with a top 5 finish.

Sharapova's first two events of the 2008 season will be two exhibitions in Asia: A best of 3 tiebreak sets against Anna Chakvetadze on December 30, 2007 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. She leads the head-to-head 7-0, including 5-0 this past season. Next up is the J B Group Classic, formerly known as Watson's Water Challenge, which will take place on January 2-5. The tournament will also welcome 7 other WTA tour players, with Ana Ivanovic, Anna Chakvetadze, Venus Williams, Daniela Hantuchova, Elena Dementieva, Shuai Peng and Caroline Wozniacki taking place in the eight-woman tournament.

Source: agencies