Maria Sharapova, much disliked by the Western press for her indifference to her image in the media, is celebrating a victory again. In the first round at Wimbledon tennis tournament on Tuesday she beat the Spaniard Nuria Llagostera Vives.
The second-seeded Russian had little trouble on Centre Court, breaking Llagostera Vives in the second and eighth games of both sets while controlling every facet of the game. The 18-year-old Sharapova had 17 winners and six aces, reports AP.
Stating that “glamour girl Shaparova had dominated the Wimbledon build-up in the British media, her photogenic image displacing even eternal British hope Tim Henman on the newspaper front pages and advertising hoardings”, with much noise “made of her gold-studded shoes”, CNN nevertheless stresses, that her outfit was traditional and sober and her focus was on the tennis rather than the fashion.
"You never know what to expect" in the first round, Sharapova said. "I did enough to win and I'm pretty satisfied."
Sharapova got off to a fast start in each set. In the first three games of the first set, she allowed Llagostera Vives only four points while taking a 3-0 lead. In the first three games of the next set, Llagostera Vives won just two points and again trailed 3-0.
Sharapova did have two more break points in the match, but she failed to convert either of them in the fourth game of the first set. Llagostera Vives, who won her only WTA Tour title earlier this year at Rabat, Morocco, had just one break-point opportunity. But Sharapova won the fifth game of the second set after the Spaniard failed to return the next two serves, followed by a winner at the net.
Noting Sharapova’s “usual grunts - increasing in loudness in the second set”, AP noticed, that she wasn't too happy about hearing another question about her noise-making antics in the post-match news conference.
"I don't pay attention to that, and I never have and probably never will," Sharapova said.
Before the tournament, Wimbledon officials banned a man believed to be stalking Sharapova, but the Russian tennis star said she wasn't too concerned about it.
"It was the last thing I was worried about," Sharapova said.
Sharapova, who at 1.83 meters (6-foot) towered over the 1.56 meters (5-foot-1Ѕ) Llagostera Vives, won her first Grand Slam title at the All England Club last year.
Llagostera Vives reached the second round at Wimbledon last year. The 25-year-old Spaniard also played in 2001, but again lost in the first round.
Sharapova was also playing at the All England Club for the third time. Besides winning the championship last year, she reached the fourth round in 2003.
On the WTA Tour this year, Sharapova has reached at least the quarterfinals in all nine events she has played and has a 37-6 record. She has won three of her 10 titles this year.