On a miserable Monday in Paris, Maria Sharapova got her French Open challenge underway with a 6-1, 6-2 win over fellow Russian Ksenia Pervak.
WTA Staff

PARIS, France - Maria Sharapova made the perfect start to her French Open challenge, sweeping aside qualifier Ksenia Pervak in straight sets.

The Plot
For someone that once so openly loathed clay, Sharapova is now in possession of an enviable record on the surface. In fact, following her 2011 French Open semifinal defeat to Li Na, the Russian has won 47 of 51 matches, only tasting defeat to Serena Williams and Ana Ivanovic in that time.

Since losing to Sharapova in the first round in Paris four years ago, Pervak's progress has been hampered by a string of injuries, which have seen her slip down the rankings and spend much of 2014 confined to the ITF Circuit.

The Turning Point
Rain delayed Monday's start time on Philippe Chatrier for over an hour, and with more downpours forecast for later in the day, Sharapova looked keen to keep her time on court to a minimum. Even in the heavier conditions, Pervak had no answer to the Russian's power, dropping the first set in under half an hour.

Sharapova continued her relentless assault into the second, capturing yet another break when a Pervak backhand drifted wide. As the rain clouds began to gather once more, she sped towards the finish line, confidently serving out a 6-1, 6-2 win.

"It's always nice to get out there on a day like this," Sharapova said in her post-match press conference. "It's good to play first match, as you know. Hopefully you'll be able to finish the match today with the weather conditions being as they are. It's always nice to get through.

"The first matches at Grand Slams are always tough, no matter how prepared you are, no matter how many matches you've played. There is always a bit more tension in that type of Grand Slam atmosphere. It's certainly more special, especially when you walk out on court. Considering all that, I thought I played a solid match, did the things I had to do."

What's Next
In the second round, Sharapova will face Tsvetana Pironkova, who beat Annika Beck, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2 on Sunday.