Three-time Internazionali BNL d'Italia champion Maria Sharapova advanced to the second round with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over American Christina McHale on Monday.
Rome: Former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova says she is not looking too far ahead after returning from a doping suspension but concedes she is eager to be competing for the biggest titles in tennis again.
Sharapova has already gained enough rankings points since her comeback to enter qualifying for Wimbledon.
Pundits had initially speculated Sharapova might not be granted a wildcard to the tournament outright, but to qualifiers - where she could otherwise have been able to amass wins; his move means she will have absolutely no way to play the open whatsoever.
The five-time Grand Slam victor will play the second round against Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who defeated Czech Lucie Safarova earlier on Monday. I'm very sorry for Maria, very sorry for her fans. She recovered from a break down three times in the opening set and hit 14 more winners to win her sixth successive Italian Open match.
Tomas Berdych, the number 12, defeated German Mischa Zverev 7-6 (9-7), 6-4; Jan-Lennard Struff put out Australian Bernard Tomic 6-7 (6-8), 6-1, 6-4.
Tournament organisers were criticised for giving a wildcard to Sharapova instead of former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, an Italian.
Ferrandini then spoke about how the Court of Arbitration for Sport "reduced her sanction, but agreed with the independent panel she had committed a violation of the anti-doping tennis programme and she had to be suspended for 15 months". Also, Sam Querrey eliminated Lucas Pouille, a semifinalist previous year, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (8).
It had been expected that the FFT would hand Sharapova, who won the 2012 and 2014 titles on the Parisian clay at least a wildcard into the qualifying tournament.
The mistakes continued to come from Sharapova - a double fault cost her a third break before a timely pep talk from her coach prompted a revival from 4-3 down.
Still, there were signs of rustiness, like when Sharapova dumped a first serve into the red clay before the net while attempting to close out the match.
Since her return, Sharapova has gone 5-2 - the two losses coming against two of her most vocal critics, Mladenovic and Eugenie Bouchard.