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Yaroslava Shvedova, number one tennis player in Kazakhstan
I'll try to refrain from making the obvious Borat reference here.
Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan. She did it, all the way to the quarters of the French Open and perhaps farther either in Paris or at another Grand Slam. Greatest Kazakh tennis player ever? It sounds like a best-seller.
To put it into perspective, Shveds ended 2011 ranked No. 206 in the world. Most people couldn't name the top 10.
But you don't get to No. 206 in the world without taking down a few peers. The 24-year-old won the Sony Ericsson Open in 2007, entering the top 100 for her first time. That same year, she defeated future world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic. She also took down No. 5 Jelena Jankovic at Wimbledon in 2009 and No. 8 in the world Agnieszka Radwanska at Roland Garros in 2010.
And then she slipped into relative obscurity. Until now.
For perhaps her greatest trick, she just defeated last years French Open winner Li Na. Her match tomorrow in the quarterfinals of this years French Open against Czech Petra Kvitova is perhaps her best opportunity to let the world know she's no fluke. Kvitova has a nice left-handed serve and plays from the baseline with power.
But we could be on the verge of Shvedova-sanity. Very nice.