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Italian Open win allows Sharapova to qualify for Wimbledon

Italian Open win allows Sharapova to qualify for Wimbledon

Taking advantage of another wild card upon her return from a doping ban, Maria Sharapova overcame a shaky opening set to defeat 58th-ranked Christina McHale 6-4, 6-2 Monday in the first round of the Italian Open.

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.

And if she progresses to the semi-finals at the Italian Open that would likely confirm her qualification to the main draw at the All England Club.

"To try to win Roland Garros, you don't need to be No 4 or No 1 or No 5, what you need is to play tennis very well", Nadal said.

Her second-round opponent will be Croatian veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, whom she beat in the Madrid tournament last week before losing a grudge match against Eugenie Bouchard. "The fact that I'm back and playing three weeks in a row now and three events in a row for me is a big deal".

In order to enter Wimbledon qualifiers, one needs to be in the top 200 of the rankings.

More news: Ligue 1: Uefa ban threat hangs over Lyon after semi

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.

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.

The Russian, who is a three-time victor of this event, will take on Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the second round, who overcame the challenge of Lucie Safarova in three sets. Only 24 players have earned 600 or more wins.

The Italian Open organizers were criticized for giving a wild card to Sharapova instead of former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, an Italian. Sam Querrey upset French 11th seed Lucas Pouille 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (10/8).

"I thought the conditions were tough, I thought the ball was really heavy and it was tough to be aggressive".

"We know Team Europe is incredibly strong on paper, and that Roger and Rafa have both had an unbelievable start to the year", he said.

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