Sharapova back in form on grass

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The Independent Online

Maria Sharapova, who took well to grass a year ago, was quickly back in the groove yesterday, breezing into the last 16 of the DFS Classic in Birmingham.

Maria Sharapova, who took well to grass a year ago, was quickly back in the groove yesterday, breezing into the last 16 of the DFS Classic in Birmingham.

The Siberian-born player brushed aside the American Jamea Jackson, ranked 198 places below her in the world, with ease. The Florida-based Sharapova, who hits the ball powerfully for a 17-year-old, produced brutal serves and thumping two-handed backhands to see off her opponent 6-2, 6-2 in 67 minutes.

The Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova made an equally impressive start to the event, needing only 54 minutes to beat Yoon Jeong Cho 6-3, 6-1.

* In Germany, the men's world No 1 Roger Federer began the defence of his Halle Open title with a solid 6-3, 6-2 victory over the former Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson in the first round yesterday. After going 2-0 down in the first set, the Wimbledon champion quickly got into his stride. The top seed will play Russia's Mikhail Youzhny in the next round.

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