Sharapova overcomes shaky start to beat McHale in Rome

Sharapova overcomes shaky start to beat McHale in Rome

Sharapova overcomes shaky start to beat McHale in Rome

"I'll focus on my match, I'm playing tomorrow", Sharapova said; "But nothing is a disappointment after being away from the game for 15 months".

Dimitrov double-faulted to hand del Potro the key break in the third set and then smashed his racket on the clay.

After battling back to win a scrappy opening set, Sharapova grew in confidence in the second and earned a comfortable 6-4 6-2 victory in Rome.

Sharapova showed some signs of a slow start as she failed to find her first serves, allowing McHale to exploit those vulnerable second serves of her, breaking serve to 30 in the opening game and taking the early lead.

In the ATP men's first round, ninth seed David Goffin beat Thomaz Bellucci 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-4 and American.

Tournament organizers were criticized for giving a wild card to Sharapova instead of former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, an Italian.

Berdych matched his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, with 599 career victories.

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The Russian, who is a three-time victor of this event, will take on Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the second round.

No.12 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova got her Rome campaign off to a grueling start, outlasting Samantha Stosur in a marathon three sets to charge into the second round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-1.

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.

But once the second set began, Sharapova was in total control and began to resemble the player who won the trophy at the Foro Italico in 2011, 2012 and 2015. Also, Sam Querrey eliminated Lucas Pouille, a semifinalist past year, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (8).

The first holds of serve finally came as there was an exchange of comfortable service hold before Sharapova fought back once more by earning the fourth break of serve in the set, leaving the scoreline tied at three games all.

The Russian broke McHale seven times on 14 opportunities and struck 21 winners to just seven for the American.

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