Ruthless Sharapova continues smooth progress

Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:13pm EDT
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By Clare Lovell

LONDON (Reuters) - There is a steely look about Maria Sharapova as she talks about focus, concentration and looking to the future, not the past.

The 27-year-old former champion was dumped out of Wimbledon in the second round last year by Portugal's Michelle Larcher de Brito and was keen to avoid humiliation again on Thursday.

So it was with business-like efficiency that the Russian dispatched Swiss qualifier Timea Bacsinszky 6-2 6-1 in an hour on Thursday on her way to the third round.

"You try to just focus a little bit more on executing better and not letting your focus go," Sharapova told reporters. "That's been important in the last couple of matches."

For the French Open champion, getting the small things right matters a great deal, such as adjusting to the different feel of Wimbledon's practice surfaces compared with its tournament courts, never mind the adjustment from Paris clay to London grass.

"The first couple of days are always the most dangerous in terms of the difference between the two and the footing," Sharapova said. "I wasn't very successful at the transition last year but I feel quite well this year."

On Thursday, the fifth seed showed the sort of ruthless precision that won her the French Open title this month. She broke Bacsinszky's serve five times, forcing her opponent to scramble left and right to retrieve powerful groundstrokes.

Sharapova, the world's highest-earning sportswoman, moved with economical ease on Court One and has completed two rounds for the loss of only four games. She is quite happy to keep her appearances short.   Continued...

Maria Sharapova of Russia waves after beating Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland at their women's singles tennis match on No.1 Court at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London June 26, 2014.   REUTERS/Toby Melville