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Kirilenko Set For Summer Schedule

Maria Kirilenko will be looking to continue her banner year when she gets her North American summer hardcourt season started next month.

Published July 24, 2013 12:00

Kirilenko Set For Summer Schedule
Maria Kirilenko

Though she hasn't played since a first round loss at Wimbledon, Maria Kirilenko is preparing for the Emirates Airline US Open Series with high expectations.

Among Kirilenko's feats this season have been her first WTA title in five years and sixth overall in Pattaya City in February, beating two Top 10 players at the same event for the first time during a semifinal run at Indian Wells in March and her third Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance at Roland Garros in June - after which she became the 106th player and 11th Russian to crack the Top 10.

Kirilenko believes she can do better than the quarterfinals at a major and in fact win one.

"That's why I am playing tennis of course," Kirilenko said. "Everyone has different goals. I made the Top 10 already, so I achieved that one. The way I am playing right now, I need to take advantage of all my chances and opportunities to achieve other goals."

Kirilenko thinks improving her fitness will give her a better chance against the WTA's elite players.

"It is important to be physically fit, to be 100% ready, especially when you play against great players like Vika or Serena or Sharapova," Kirilenko said. "If you aren't, it is difficult to beat them."

Currently ranked 12th, Kirilenko is scheduled to play Toronto in two weeks and Cincinnati the week after for her pre-US Open schedule. She has especially fond memories of Canada, having won the Canadian Junior Championships as a 15-year-old in 2002.

"I will always remember that because I won that tournament and then right after that the US Open - my two big wins as a junior," Kirilenko said. "It was such a long time ago, 11 years, but of course it is history and it is good history!"

After her pre-US Open slate, Kirilenko will be looking to improve upon her best outing at Flushing Meadows - a fourth round showing in 2011. And it is not out of the realm of possibility for her to qualify for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships for the first time, as she is in 15th place in the standings but is less than 400 points behind eighth place Petra Kvitova. Finally, she has been integral in Russia's Fed Cup success this year, so could be called upon to play in November's final against Italy.

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