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Maria Sharapova's comeback gathers pace as she secures place in Wimbledon qualifiers

And she could be handed a place in the French Open tomorrow.

The Russian celebrates victory in Rome.
The Russian celebrates victory in Rome.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

MARIA SHARAPOVA HAS opened the door for a return to Wimbledon after she secured a place in the qualifiers at SW19 with a straight-sets win at the WTA Internazionali BNL d’Italia today.

The Russian’s 6-4 6-2 triumph over Christina McHale in Rome sees her move into the world’s top 200 and secure a qualifying berth at the All England Club — but should she reach the semis in Italy this week, Sharapova would be set for a place in the main draw at Wimbledon.

The 30-year-old won the first of her five Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon in 2004.

Sharapova will learn on Tuesday if she is to be given a wildcard for the French Open, having only returned from a 15-month doping ban last month.

After being told in her post-match press conference that she will be returning to Wimbledon this summer, Sharapova said:”I don’t know how the Wimbledon qualifying works or the rankings. I’m not really aware of that.

“Winning matches will get me places, so if that’s where it got me, then I will take it.

“I think maybe you guys assume that I know these things, but I genuinely want to take care of each and every single week, and every single match is a priority for me.

“The fact that I’m back and playing three weeks in a row now and three events in a row for me is a big deal. That’s my focus.”

Wimbledon makes its call on wildcard entries on 20 June.

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Ryan Bailey

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