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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sharapova Defends Her Ranking as World No. 1

TOKYO -- A one-sided defeat to Serena Williams in the Australian Open final is neither here nor there to Maria Sharapova -- the Russian still deserves to be world No. 1.

"The rankings don't lie," the 19-year-old said ahead of this week's Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. "I had a great end to last year. I'm excited to get to No. 1 and hopefully I can keep it for many weeks to come."

She admitted to having some mixed feelings, however, about reaching the summit of the women's game following a painful 6-1, 6-2 thrashing by Williams in Melbourne, Australia, during the weekend.

"Obviously after every loss you're disappointed," Sharapova said. "As an athlete, it's never fun losing. But at the end of the day, I reached the final of a Grand Slam in my first tournament of the year."

Sharapova won the tier-one Pan Pacific Open in 2005 and quickly promised to make up for a surprise defeat by Martina Hingis in last year's semifinals.

"Martina took me out last year," said Sharapova, smiling and flanked by her Swiss rival. "Hopefully I can get some revenge this year in the final."

Hingis is seeded two behind Sharapova as she bids to win a record fifth title at the $1.3 million tournament, having won in Tokyo in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2002.

"I've got to the final a few times here," said former world No. 1 Hingis, now ranked sixth after reaching the Australian Open quarterfinals. "Hopefully it will bring out the best in me again."

Yelena Dementyeva, Serb Jelena Jankovic and Israel's Shahar Peer, who pushed Williams to the limit in the Melbourne quarterfinals, are also among a quality Tokyo field.