Sharapova on course for Wimbledon after win in Rome


Maria Sharapova overcame a shaky start in the first round of the Italian Open on Monday to defeat 58th-ranked Christina McHale 6-4, 6-2.

Sharapova's current ranking guarantees her a spot in Wimbledon qualifying, but she can earn a spot beyond the main draw cutoff if she continues to progress at Rome.

On early Tuesday evening the French Tennis Federation (FFT) will announce their decision about whether or not to grant her any sort of wildcard into the forthcoming French Open.

Sharapova edged Lucic-Baroni in three tough sets in Madrid last week but then lost to Eugenie Bouchard, who has been one of the most outspoken critics of the wild cards being handed out to Sharapova.

Berdych matched his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, with 599 career victories. "The fact that I'm back and playing three weeks in a row now. for me is a big deal".

It's taken Sharapova just seven matches to break into the top 200, which is the cut-off point for qualifying, with the Russian winning five of those contests.

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Maria Sharapova, of Russian Federation, returns the ball to Christina Mchale, of the United States, during the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Monday, May 15, 2017. Only 24 players have earned 600 or more wins.

Sharapova came through a hic-cup near the end, losing serve as she prepared to wrap it up while leading 5-1, but recovered in the next game to emerge the victor. Sam Querrey upset French 11th seed Lucas Pouille 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (10/8).

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni beat former French Open finalist Lucie Safarova 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, and if Sharapova wins this tie, she could face top-ranked Angelique Kerber in the third round. Nadal was last ranked fourth in October previous year.

The highest ranked qualifier at Wimbledon previous year was Serbia's Aleksandra Krunic, at 46th in the world, while the highest was Luksika Kumkhum from Thailand, who is 212th. "I've been saying that for years yet this is my first trip here". "They've already got Roger and Rafa on board and we've all seen how well they've started 2017".

"But we are putting together a bunch of players who I have no doubt will be the next generation of Grand Slam winners, and Milos is definitely up there as a contender".