Maria Sharapova earns enough points to qualify for Wimbledon after three tournaments

Maria Sharapova earns enough points to qualify for Wimbledon after three tournaments

Maria Sharapova earns enough points to qualify for Wimbledon after three tournaments

Maria Sharapova shrugged off a sluggish opening to progress to the second round of the WTA Internazionali BNL d'Italia with a win over Christina McHale on the eve of learning her French Open fate.

The 2004 Wimbledon champion was given a wildcard to compete in Rome after returning from a 15-month ban after testing positive to doping.

Tournament organisers had previously claimed they could cope with the demands of the former world No. 1 playing in qualifying, although it still remains more than possible that she will earn qualification to the main draw.

Even that could be avoided if she reaches the semi-finals in Rome, which would take her to a ranking of around 100 and get her directly into the main event.

It is still unknown if the five-time Grand Slam victor will be handed a wildcard into either qualifying or the main draw at the upcoming French Open, and the two-time Roland Garros champion will discover her fate on Tuesday. "The fact that I'm back and playing three weeks in a row now and three events in a row for me is a big deal".

This win pushed the Russian back into the Top 200 of the rankings for the first time since her comeback and managing to book a spot in the Wimbledon qualifying rounds for herself. Only 24 players have earned 600 or more wins.

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On Monday, Sharapova was broken by McHale in the opening game.

Sam Querrey eliminated Lucas Pouille, a semifinalist past year, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (8). In the ATP men's first round, ninth seed David Goffin beat Thomaz Bellucci 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-4 and American Sam Querrey upset French 11th seed Lucas Pouille 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (10/8).

The Italian Open organizers were criticized for giving a wild card to Sharapova instead of former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, an Italian. Nadal was last ranked fourth in October a year ago.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are already confirmed to play for Team Europe, with Tomas Berdych committing to play if qualified or selected. What I'm really happy about is to achieve a title like this here in Madrid.

"Taking on the Europeans is no easy task".

"We know Team Europe is incredibly strong on paper, and that Roger and Rafa have both had an unbelievable start to the year", he said.

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