The 30-year-old beat her American opponent in straight sets in the first round as she continues her return after being banned for 15-months
MARIA SHARAPOVA has secured her place in Wimbledon as her first round win at the Italian Open earns the Russian a spot in the qualifiers.
The 30-year-old defeated America’s Christina McHale in straight sets winning 6-4 6-2 as she carries on her assault to climb back to the very top of tennis.
Her win means she will jump back inside the the top 200 as she is currently ranked 211 in the world, after she was banned for 15 months after being tested positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.
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Sharapova can ensure her place in the main draw in the Grand Slam if she reaches the semi-finals in Rome, and she could feature in the French Open which kicks off on May 28.
She will find out on Tuesday whether she has been granted a wildcard to compete at Roland Garros – a place she has won two titles back in 2012 and 2014.
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The five-time Grand Slam winner will face Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the second round on Tuesday – the Croation 16th seed beat Lucie Safarova in an epic three-set battle winning 7-5 4-6 6-3.
Sharapova could face world number one Angelique Kerber in round three – the German won the US and Australian Open in 2016, and is the current favourite to win the French Open.
The qualifying tournament for Wimbledon will take place between June 26-June 29 at the Bank of England Sports Grounds in Roehampton.