Wimbledon: Maria Sharapova has too much for French prospect Kristina Mladenovic
Maria Sharapova overpowered Kristina Mladenovic 7-6 6-3 to reach the second round of Wimbledon.
Last Updated: 24/06/13 7:36pm
Centre Court was treated to a truly excellent first set of tennis with 20-year-old Mladenovic upping her game on the big stage and matching the famously aggressive hitting of the Russian.
The early equality resulted in a tie-break, and Mladenovic fought back gamely from an initial double-fault to secure a mini-break, only for the key moment of the set and possibly the match to go the way of third-seeded Sharapova.
Mladenovic, whose use of the drop shot seemed to catch Sharapova cold on several occasions early on, began to overdo it and paid the price when allowing Sharapova to kill off a dramatic rally and claim the first set.
Once Sharapova found her rhythm in the second, victory seemed inevitable and the Mladenovic serve suffered as the match wore on - her seven double faults helping the 2004 champion close out the match with ease.
Michelle Larcher De Brito awaits in the second round after the Portuguese No 2 overcame American Melanie Oudin 7-6 1-6 6-4 in just under two hours.
Elsewhere, ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki was also untroubled as she cruised past Estrella Cabeza Candela in just 59 minutes.
The Dane won only two of 14 points on her second serve, but her Spanish opponent won just 12 points on serve in total.