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By Chris Oddo | Monday May 15, 2017

Three-time Internazionali BNL d’Italia champion Maria Sharapova advanced to the second round with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over American Christina McHale on Monday.

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Sharapova was down a break on three different occasions in the first set but eventually made the necessary adjustments and cruised through the second set to improve her lifetime record to 5-0 against McHale.

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

Sharapova’s WTA ranking will move up to around 170 in the win, and can go higher if she passes her second-round test against No.16-seeded Mirjana-Lucic Baroni.

Lucic-Baroni edged Czech Lucie Safarova, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. It was Lucic-Baroni’s first win over Safarova in five career matches.

Sharapova’s current ranking guarantees her a spot in Wimbledon qualifying, but she can earn a spot beyond the main draw cutoff if she continues to progress at Rome.

The Russian, who started the week at No.211, improves her 2017 record to 5-2.

She is expected to hear from Roland Garros on Tuesday about the status of her wild card request. She may receive a main draw wild card but many believe that it is more likely that she will be given a wild card into the qualifying draw.

In other action on Monday in Rome, Daria Kasatkina was forced to retire after she rolled her left ankle in the second set of her match against Barbora Strycova. Kasatkina had taken the first set but was unable to continue.

Stuttgart champion Laura Siegemund defeated 19-year-old Naomi Osaka, 6-2, 6-4, while Yulia Putintseva defeated Monica Puig, 6-2, 7-5.

Mona Barthel (d Shuai Peng), Katerina Siniakova (d. Shuai Zhang)and Lesia Tsurenko (d. Deborah Chiesa) were also winners on Monday in Rome.


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