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Sharapova backhands Connors

Maria Sharapova (File)
Maria Sharapova (File)
Cincinnati - Four-time Grand Slam title winner and former world No 1 Maria Sharapova has split with coach Jimmy Connors after just one match, the Russian star's agent said on Friday.

Max Eisenbud confirmed that world No 3 Sharapova and Connors, an eight-time major winner in his playing days, are no longer working together after linking-up for just one event in Cincinnati.

Sharapova hired Connors, who once coached Andy Roddick for 18 months, last month in the wake of her Wimbledon second round exit after previous coach Thomas Hogstedt had said that he wanted to cut back on his travel schedule and spend time with his family.

The Sharapova-Connors link-up seemed odd to many when it was announced and the pair apparently had little time to get acquainted with the player trying to heal a hip injury in time to prepares for the US Open which starts on August 26.

As it is, Sharapova, who lost 2-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 in the Cincinnati WTA tournament second round to American Sloane Stephens on Tuesday, is now in Florida training, while Connors returned quickly to his Santa Barbara base in California.

He tweeted on Thursday: "Back home in SB-- family, pups, and home cooking. Oh -- I forgot, and a vodka on the rocks."

Seen in the Cincinnati players lounge after his new client's defeat, Connors appeared to be eager to leave the Midwest event as quickly as possible.

Sharapova will be bidding for her second title at the US Open after winning the major in 2006.

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