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Vergeer, who was left paralyzed after surgery at age 8 to correct a spinal defect, is also a five-time Paralympic gold medalist.


HINGIS ADVICE: Five-time Grand Slam winner Martina Hingis has some advice for Caroline Wozniacki on how to handle the game’s power hitters: Don’t let them push you around.

Wozniacki, who mostly plays a defensive-minded game, fell to defending champion Kim Clijsters in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, ensuring she’ll drop from the top spot in the rankings on Monday.

The 21-year-old Dane has a losing record against many of the game’s biggest hitters _ she’s 0-3 against Clijsters, 0-3 against Serena Williams, 0-4 against Venus Williams and 2-3 against Maria Sharapova.

“I didn’t step back. I tried not to let them push me,” Hingis said of playing power players like the Williams sisters and Lindsay Davenport. “They were stronger than me. It’s hard to play three, four players like that in a row. It’s three-setter after three-setter after three-setter.

“Today you just can’t let yourself get pushed back. (Wozniacki) has to try to move in, step forward, otherwise there is always going to be somebody coming on top of her at a Grand Slam. She’s a great player. I wish I would see her come in a little bit more.”

Hingis, a three-time champion at the Australian Open, is playing in the legends’ doubles event this week with partner Iva Majoli. It’s her first time back at Melbourne Park since losing to Clijsters in the 2007 quarterfinals. She retired for a second time at the end of that season.


SILENCING CRITICS: Maria Sharapova is not going to turn down the volume for just anyone.

Eighth-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland criticized Sharapova for the shrieks she makes when she strikes the ball, describing them as “annoying” and “just too loud.” Radwanska had just lost a quarterfinal to Victoria Azarenka, who also makes a loud noise when she hits the ball.

Sharapova was not amused.

When told about Radwanska’s comments after her quarterfinal win over Ekaterina Makarova on Wednesday, the fourth-seeded Russian asked rather icily, “Isn’t she back in Poland already?”

She added she’s not about to make any changes to her playing style.

“I’ve been the same over the course of my career,” she said. “No one important enough has told me to change or do something different. I’ve answered it many times before. I’m sure I’ll answer it many more times ahead. I’m OK with that.”

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