Sharapova in clover for impressive grass return

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The Independent Online

Maria Sharapova picked up in ominous fashion from where she left off at Wimbledon with an impressive return to grass at Edgbaston yesterday.

Maria Sharapova picked up in ominous fashion from where she left off at Wimbledon with an impressive return to grass at Edgbaston yesterday.

The Wimbledon champion made a confident start to the defence of her DFS Classic title, beating the unseeded Anne Kremer, 29, from Luxembourg, 6-3, 6-0 in her first singles match on grass since her triumph at the All England Club last July.

"It's always nice coming back to where you've had really good memories," the world No 2 said after taking only 53 minutes to see off the 94th-ranked Kremer.

Sharapova began and finished the opening game with an ace, but was broken to love in her second service game and produced two more aces when faced with two break points in the second game of the second set.

Britain's Anne Keothavong, still making her way back to full fitness after an eight-month lay-off following a knee reconstruction, lost for the second time in a fortnight to the American Laura Granville.

Keothavong, who retired through injury against her opponent in Surbiton, staged a brief rally before bowing out 6-2, 6-0 to a player ranked 138 places higher than her.

In Germany, Roger Federer was given a stern test by Sweden's Robin Soderling before winning his first-round match at the Halle Open 6-7, 7-6, 6-4.

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