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Italian Open: Maria Sharapova win secures Wimbledon qualifying place

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova secured a place in Wimbledon qualifying – at the very least – with a first-round win over Christina McHale at the Italian Open.

The 30-year-old Russian is ranked 211 in the world and was given a wildcard in Rome as she continues her return from a 15-month drugs ban.

Monday’s 6-4 6-2 win ensures Sharapova will move inside the top 200 and earn a Wimbledon qualifying place next month.

She will qualify for Wimbledon’s main draw if she reaches the Rome semis.

Sharapova will learn on Tuesday whether she has been given a wildcard into either qualifying or the main draw at the French Open, which gets under way on 28 May.

The five-time Grand Slam champion reached the semi-finals on her return to action in Stuttgart last month, but lost to Eugenie Bouchard in the second round in Madrid last week.

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BBC Sport – Tennis

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