Wimbledon: Sharapova enters 2nd round
Sharapova fired a succession of backhand, forehand and crosscourt winners past a tormented Smashnova to win her first round in Women's singles at Wimbeldon on June 28, 2006.india Updated: Jun 29, 2006 01:12 IST
Maria Sharapova marked her return to her favourite hunting ground at Wimbledon by thrashing Israel's Anna Smashnova 6-2, 6-0 in the first round on Wednesday.
The 2004 champion, opening her campaign a day later than expected because of Monday's rain, signalled her title aspirations by condemning Smashnova to her 10th first-round exit here in 12 visits.
"The only reason why I'm here is to hold that plate at the end of the two weeks," the 19-year-old Russian said.
"I don't have anything to prove to the whole world, I do this because I love to compete, love to go out there."
The comprehensive nature of the victory would also have given Sharapova a confidence boost after her surprise defeat in the Edgbaston semi-finals two weeks ago.
Sharapova was just seven when Minsk-born Smashnova made her debut at the grasscourt grand slam in 1994 but that did not stop the fourth seed from pulling rank over the 29-year-old Israeli.
She wasted little time in outclassing her opponent with bludgeoning groundstrokes and powered into a 3-0 lead in just eight minutes.
With her feet rooted near the baseline, Sharapova was happy to fire a succession of backhand, forehand and crosscourt winners past a tormented Smashnova.
Such was her dominance, that there was even a sense of anticlimax around a sun-drenched court one when the Russian's run was briefly halted in the fourth game.
A Sharapova double fault on break point saved Smashnova from an embarrassing rout but the reprieve did not last long.
The Israeli even failed in her attempt to mimic Sharapova's high-pitched shrieks.
With the Russian raising the decibel levels each stroke, Smashnova tried to join in but her yelps managed only to draw a ripple of laughter from the crowd.
After Sharapova had claimed the first set with a forehand drive volley, the Israeli wilted in the second set and succumbed in 52 minutes by dumping a backhand into the net.
"I kind of broke her," acknowledged Sharapova, who will next meet either American Ashley Harkleroad or Jelena Kostanic of Croatia.
"I'm more excited about playing on grass than on any other surface and just took advantage right from the start."