Sharapova Shakes Wimbledon Jinx
Published June 24, 2010 12:00
LONDON, England - Having fallen in the same round the last two years, Maria Sharapova snapped a Wimbledon second round jinx on Thursday, defeating young Romanian Ioana Raluca Olaru in straight sets, 61 64.
With her power game in full flow - she hit 29 winners in the match - Sharapova, the champion at The Championships in 2004 and this year's No.16 seed, made quick work of the 21-year-old Olaru, whose imperfect record against Top 20 players stretched to 0-14 - winning only one set in those 14 matches.
"I kind of backed up and let her back in the match," said Sharapova, who gave a break back in the second set before closing it out. "I knew that coming into this match that last year I was on the plane the next day. I really thought about it, especially toward the end of the match. So I was really excited to get through."
Sharapova had been stopped in the second round here in 2008 (to Alla Kudryavtseva) and 2009 (to Gisela Dulko). Before those last two losses, she had never lost in the first week of the grass court Grand Slam.
Two major storylines emerged over the last 24 hours or so - the Queen's visit to the All-England Club and the marathon men's match between Nicolas Mahut and John Isner. Sharapova was asked about both of them in press.
"It's wonderful and great for our sport she was able to take some time from her really busy schedule and be a part of Wimbledon," Sharapova said of Queen Elizabeth II, who was visiting the tournament for the first time in 33 years, and just the fourth time overall. "To see her here supporting the tournament was great. I didn't get an opportunity to meet her - I had a match to play - but I'm sure I'll see highlights of her watching the match. It will be pretty cool to see."
And on the Mahut-Isner drama, which picked up at 59-59 on Thursday? "It's amazing what they've done," the 23-year-old said. "They've created some crazy news around the world, which is great for the sport. Even for people who don't have any interest in tennis, they read about it and see how amazing it is.
"It's heroic. I'd be checking myself into the local hospital."
Other early winners on Day 4 were No.3 seed Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Chang Kai-Chen, 64 63, in a match featuring two of the only six teenagers in the Top 100; No.7 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who rolled past Alberta Brianti, 62 60; No.10 seed Flavia Pennetta, who crushed qualifier Monica Niculescu, 61 61; and No.14 seed Victoria Azarenka, who beat Bojana Jovanovski, 61 64. No.31 seed Alexandra Dulgheru, Petra Kvitova and Kaia Kanepi also won.