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Maria Sharapova through to second round in Rome
20 May 2017, 08:48 | Andy Ferguson
Maria Sharapova hits a powerful forehand
She faces a battle to raise her ranking enough to qualify for the grasscourt Grand Slam by right and spare organisers the dilemma of whether to award her a wildcard into the main draw of the tournament she won in 2004.
Controversial women's tennis star Maria Sharapova has secured her place in the qualifying draw for Wimbledon.
"The conditions are quite different to Madrid, so I felt like the adjustment was really important", said Sharapova who converted 7/14 break chances.
Sharapova, who has now played in three tournaments since returning from her 15-month doping ban last month, will learn on Tuesday if she will be granted a wild card for the French Open, which begins May 28.
"I won't be following it live".
Ill be focused on my match, Im playing tomorrow.
Maria Sharapova of Russian Federation returns the ball during her match against Christina Michael of USA in the first round of the Italian Open on Monday.
Former US Open victor Juan Martin del Potro staged a comeback to oust Grigor Dimitrov 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, winning with seven aces after more than two hours.
Berdych matched his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, with 599 career victories. The day before was more lighthearted (with a win over Christina Mchale).
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On Monday, Sharapova was broken by McHale in the opening game.
Many don't pity Sharapova for the French Tennis Federation's decision about a wild card.
Although she was able to hold for a 2-0 lead and somehow threatened to earn another break, it was no surprise to see Sharapova retire at the next change of ends.
Elsewhere, Russian Darya Kasatkina put out 14th seed Barbora Strycova 6-4, 6-3 and 16th seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni overhauled Lucie Safarova 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6).
"No comment", replied Sharapova, shaking her head but smiling.
Sharapova has played Lucic-Baroni once already since making her comeback, defeating the former Melbourne doubles victor in three sets during the first round of the Madrid Open.
McHale seized on her opponent's wayward start and forged ahead against the serve when Sharapova sent a forehand long.
Still, there were signs of rustiness, like when Sharapova hit a first serve into the red clay before the net while attempting to close out the match.
Sharapova won the next two games and although McHale broke back to make it 5-2, Sharapova took the next game to clinch victory.
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