Having not played a single competitive match in over a month, many questioned Maria Sharapova’s preparedness ahead of her opening round match at the Wimbledon Championships. However, the Russian superstar had little trouble against a tough wildcard and was able to find her way into the second round, where she will now come up against Dutch player Richel Hogenkamp. This marks the first time the two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour.
Seeded fourth at this year’s tournament, Maria Sharapova was able to summon up some impressive tennis to defeat British wildcard Johanna Konta in straight sets. The Russian star hit 23 winners to close out the contest 6-2, 6-2.
“It was my first competitive match in about four weeks, so I just wanted to start off really strong, not knowing much about my opponent, just the results she had last week. So coming in without any proper grass court matches, I just wanted to take care of business, and I thought I did a good job of that.”
“I’ve had a really good last couple of weeks now of practice. Of course, in a match situation it’s always different, especially when you haven’t competed in a few weeks. But I felt quite well today.”
Sharapova’s upcoming opponent also had an impressive start to her campaign at The All England Club, as she defeated Wang in straight sets to advance to the following stage of the tournament. Hogenkamp won the match 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and nine minutes.
This marks the first time that Sharapova and Hogenkamp will cross paths on the professional tour. Given Sharapova’s early round dominance at Grand Slam events, she should be a heavy favourite to defeat Richel on Wednesday. While Sharapova can get broken and worked around for a set, her durability and attrition should get her across the finish line.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Straight Sets