Sharapova marks Games debut with dominant display
LONDON—Russia’s Maria Sharapova marked her Olympic debut with a 6-2, 6-0 demolition of Israel’s Shahar Peer under the Centre Court roof at Wimbledon on Sunday.
Sharapova missed the 2008 Olympics in Beijing due to a shoulder injury and the world number three has been determined to savor every minute of her first appearance at the Games.
The 25-year-old carried her country’s flag at Friday’s opening ceremony and she produced a few fireworks off her own to blitz Peer in 65 minutes in a first round match played indoors due to persistent rain.
Sharapova, bidding to complete a career Golden Slam of all four major titles and Olympic singles gold, will play Britain’s Laura Robson or Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic in the last 32.
Just weeks after winning the French Open for the first time, Sharapova looked mentally exhausted in a surprise Wimbledon fourth round loss against Sabine Lisicki earlier this month.
She lost her position on top of the world rankings after that disappointing defeat, but the Olympics seem to have provided the perfect cure for any Wimbledon hangover.
Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion, dropped serve in the opening game of the match, but that seemed to act as a wake-up call for the Russian and she hit back with three breaks of her own to take the set.
Peer, ranked 49th in the world, had lost all six of her previous meetings with Sharapova and, after failing to convert three break points in the first game of the second set, she was blown away again.