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Power Rankings: Sharapova takes huge step in right direction

Busted Racquet

Maria Sharapova's French Open campaign ended in exhaustion and embarrassment, but don't expect the Russian superstar to be kept down for long.

Sharapova came within a point of being humiliated by Dominika Cibulkova - not winning a single game - before eventually succumbing 6-0, 6-2 in the quarterfinal. However, the determination and ability Sharapova displayed in getting to the final eight in her first Grand Slam after returning from a 10-month injury layoff was a highly positive portent for her followers.

Showing no ill-effects from the shoulder surgery that kept her absent from the tour for so long was a huge step in the right direction for the 22-year-old, who is looking to shake up the top five by the end of the year.

Wimbledon, which she won as a teenager in 2004, has probably arrived too early in her comeback to entertain thoughts of the title. Yet while seven matches in 13 days might prove too much for her body, Sharapova will still be a nightmare draw for any seeded player she encounters.

For her performance, Sharapova flies straight into the Yahoo! Sports Rankings in the No. 6 spot.

Roger Federer tops the men's list on the back of his French Open title, while Andy Roddick's fine effort in reaching the fourth round on his least favorite surface squeaks him into the top eight.

Yahoo! Sports Power Rankings

Men
1. (4) Roger Federer - Back with a bang to claim a place in history
2. (1) Rafael Nadal - Knee injury threatens his Wimbledon defense
3. (2) Andy Murray - High hopes for his 'home' Grand Slam
4. (6) Juan Martin Del Potro - Starting to believe he can match the best
5. (5) Fernando Gonzalez - Putting together an impressive year
6. (4) Novak Djokovic - Mixed form casts further doubt over mental strength
7. (-) Robin Soderling - Huge breakthrough with magical French Open run
8. (-) Andy Roddick - Looking forward to his favorite grass-court stretch

Women
1. (1) Dinara Safina - Best player in the game but missing that Slam title
2. (2) Serena Williams - Fitness doubts threaten to destabilize her year
3. (6) Svetlana Kuznetsova - Inspired run led to deserved French title
4. (3) Venus Williams - Grass-court season should lift her spirits
5. (7) Victoria Azarenka - Slam breakthrough may not be far away
6. (-) Maria Sharapova - Extra conditioning will add spark to her tour return
7. (4) Caroline Wozniacki - Future star despite Roland Garros disappointment
8. (5) Elena Dementieva - More patchy form causing dips in confidence

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