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Sharapova Finding Her Form

Maria Sharapova was victorious on Day 1 of the Internationaux de Strasbourg, but No.2 seed Elena Vesnina was eliminated.

Published May 17, 2010 12:00

Sharapova Finding Her Form
Maria Sharapova

STRASBOURG, France - Maria Sharapova showed flashes of the game that has seen her win three Grand Slam titles and signs of the game that has seen her lose early in her last two events on Monday at the Internationaux de Strasbourg. Nevertheless, she is through to the round of 16 after her 63 36 61 victory over fellow Russian Regina Kulikova.

"I played a pretty good opponent today," said Sharapova, the No.1 seed this week. "I was put in a situation where I had to come through when my opponent was playing well. Regina has a similar game to mine - big first serve, hits pretty big and attacks - I played well enough to win. It was a high quality match, especially for a first round."

A deep run here would give Sharapova a confidence boost heading into next week's French Open, as her first round exit in Madrid last week was her only other European clay court event this season.

"I need matches. I haven't had many this year," said Sharapova, who is playing here for the first time. "I got injured again with my elbow and missed a couple of big tournaments. I'm just trying to find my form again. This week is quite important, especially for the French Open - that's why I'm here."

The only other seed in action Monday was beaten convincingly, as second-seeded Elena Vesnina was upset by Vania King, 64 61. Also, Alizé Cornet and Anastasia Rodionova advanced. Cornet topped Chan Yung-Jan for the second straight week, having beaten her in qualifying in Madrid. Rodionova's win was the most dramatic of the day, as she rallied from 5-1 down in the third set and fought off two match points in her 26 63 75 defeat of Ayumi Morita.

The four players who secured main draw spots with wins in the final round of qualifying Monday were Sorana Cirstea, Mariana Duque Marino, Maria Elena Camerin and Dia Evtimova.

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