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Sharapova enjoys easy run

MARIA Sharapova needed only two minutes on court to wrap up a rain-delayed 6-3, 6-4 victory over Alexa Glatch yesterday and reach the third round of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, England.

The former top-ranked player needed just five points to advance in the Wimbledon warm-up tournament after her match had been delayed overnight by bad weather.

Victory over the 19-year-old US Fed Cup player continued Sharapova's grasscourt build-up to what she hopes will be another assault on the Wimbledon title in 12 days' time, though it meant that she was obliged to play twice in a day.

Sharapova had twice been match point up against the promising American on Wednesday, but with the rain beginning to turn from drizzle into a downpour they had to come off with Glatch holding a point to reach 5-5.

Sharapova's first shot on resumption was a brilliant forehand return of serve, followed by a winning approach shot, which brought the score back to deuce.

She reached match point with a quieter return of serve which Glatch struck beyond the baseline, only for the teenager to save the third match point with a fine winning serve.

When Sharapova earned a fourth match point, however, with a short low return combined with a winning pass, she converted it.

In London, Andy Murray lived up to his top billing at Queen's Club when he produced a devastating display of speed and power to beat Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The British top seed never allowed the clay-loving Spaniard to get close to a break point and eased past Garcia-Lopez 6-4 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals.

In fact, the only problem Murray faced was when he suffered a small gash in his right hand during the match but dismissed it saying: "It's fine, it's just a little cut".

Former French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero appears to be enjoying his time out on grass and overcame 2002 Wimbledon semi-finalist Xavier Malisse 6-4 7-6.

Meanwhile, security issues delayed the start of American Andy Roddick's third round showdown with Australia's Lleyton Hewitt yesterday.


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