Maria Sharapova cruises through to the second round at Wimbledon

 

Tournament favourite Maria Sharapova kicked off her Wimbledon bid with a win as she overcame Anastasia Rodionova on Centre Court this afternoon.

The 2004 champion and current French Open holder took the match 6-2 6-3 but only after having to readjust following a break-neck start to proceedings.

She won the first five games in the blink of an eye, dropping just three points in the process, before her Australian opponent finally found her rhythm.

That resulted in a scrappy, truncated section of the match - one game featured eight deuces - and Sharapova needed to stand firm at times as Rodionova started to punish her.

But she saw off her challenge and, when she smashed a winner to break serve in the fourth game of the second set, she had the chance she needed to surge ahead and not look back, setting up a second-round meeting with Tsvetana Pironkova.

It had looked as though she would secure the clash in record time early on as she powered into a five-game lead.

She won the first to love - a forehand winner on the second point the highlight - before claiming a break at the first available opportunity, albeit through her opponent's double fault.

The early procession continued into the third game, with Sharapova again holding to love - three of Rodionova's shots going long - and when she broke to love in the fourth game with a smash volley and a cross-court backhand winner, it was not unfair to wonder if the Australian would win another point.

She did, though, grinding her way back in at 5-2 before Sharapova gratefully took the set.

The start to the second set was not as easy for Sharapova, just getting over the line on serve in the first game and then losing the second to 15 as Rodionova started to find some rhythm.

Her serve in particular had improved, with Sharapova being dragged across court to make her returns, but a clinical third game on her own serve helped her regain her early form and she broke in the next, taking the first of two available points with a smash.

Serve then took hold, much to Rodionova's dismay, and Sharapova held out to progress.

PA

Sport
The Aviva Premiership trophy
rugby union All the latest from Twickenham
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood
footballDanny Higginbotham: Tim Sherwood must play game of two halves to cause major upset
News
Caber is trained to help child victims of serious crimes testify
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor