Maria Sharapova eases into Wimbledon second round

World number one Maria Sharapova


All England Club, London
25 June - 8 July
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Top seed Maria Sharapova won her opening match at Wimbledon in style and said her desire to improve was driving her bid to win back-to-back titles.

The Russian is bidding to become the first woman to win the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year since 2002.

"I still believe I can achieve a lot more. That's what drives me and gets me up in the morning," she said after beating Anastasia Rodionova 6-2 6-3.

"No matter how much success, how many downfalls, I believe I can be better."

The world number one raced to a 5-0 first-set lead against Rodionova before the Australian found her rhythm.

As a result, Sharapova had to work harder before sealing a straight-sets win.

"It's always a very nice feeling for me to be back on Centre Court," said Sharapova, who won Wimbledon as a 17-year-old in 2004. "It's such a special place for me.

"Overall I'm pretty happy with the way I performed, especially for a first match.

"You've got to start back again from scratch and get yourself through round one and through to the final again," said the world number one.

"It all starts from the beginning."

Sharapova will meet 2010 semi-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova in round two.

Elsewhere, former world number one Kim Clijsters, in her last Wimbledon before retiring, moved into the second round at the expense of another former rankings leader, Jelena Jankovic.

The Belgian, who initially retired in 2007 only to return two years later, has struggled with injuries over the past two seasons and will bow out after the US Open.

But unseeded Clijsters had little trouble with 18th seed Jankovic, winning 6-2 6-4 to book an encounter with Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic.

"I believe that if I'm healthy and I'm playing my best tennis I can beat a lot of the top players here, but it's a matter of trying to achieve that every match," said Clijsters.

"Now I think this is definitely going to be it [retirement], so I take everything in.

"I still feel like I'm young and I want to do stuff, but in my head I know that I have to save all my energy and physically be ready for my matches."

Meanwhile, seeds Sam Stosur, Li Na and Sabine Lisicki all moved into the second round.

US Open champion Stosur, seeded five, saw off Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1 6-3 and goes on to play Arantxa Rus.

Last year's French Open winner Li began her campaign with a 6-3 6-1 win over Ksenia Pervak and Germany's Lisicki, a Wimbledon semi-finalist 12 months ago, beat Croatia's Petra Martic 6-4 6-2.

Lisicki's fellow German, Angelique Kerber, the eighth seed, is also through after a straight-sets win over Lucie Hradecka, as is Russian Nadia Petrova, who enjoyed a similar success over Maria Elena Camerin.

However, 16th seed Flavia Pennetta and 27th seed Daniela Hantuchova are both out.

Italian Pennetta lost 6-4 6-3 to compatriot Camila Giorgi, while Hantuchova was beaten 6-4 7-6 (7-1) by American Jamie Lee Hampton.

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