Beaten Sharapova has made 'a lot of progress'

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But it isn't the end. When nothing could be done to remedy the situation on the changeover, she returned to play on trying to keep Sharapova at bay.

"But I think coming off the challenges end of past year and really not winning a match after Cincinnati, I had to work very hard on finding that competitive edge again and finding that strength within me to really be able to fight hard and fight the right way".

Nerves jangled as the first set reached its climax and she could not find the shots to disturb the 31-year-old five-times Grand Slam victor in the tiebreak, which Sharapova won with an unreturnable serve.

It was a mixed day for Britain, the standout win coming from Boulter, who claimed her first victory at the All England Club, beating Veronica Cepede Royg 6-4 5-7 6-4.

Halep who reached the semi-finals in 2014, was beaten by Johanna Konta in last year's quarter-final. On the way, she played one of the most memorable matches of the tournament, a three-set thriller against Simona Halep, eventually going out to Venus Williams.

Yet, SW19 had missed Sharapova and Court No 2 welcomed her and her huge entourage - from coach Thomas Hogstedt, to Etonian multi-millionaire boyfriend Alexander Gilkes, founder of online auction house Paddle8 and former husband of Misha Nonoo (who reportedly set up Meghan Markle and Prince Harry).

Her ranking has since dropped from No 9 in the world to her current position of No 22 but she remains confident that Wimbledon will be a turning point. However, with so many points to defend, there was some pressure to perform well.

Once she did have the support of a near-capacity crowd, the 138th-ranked Briton produced a more assured performance but it was never going to be enough against a player who has won two Grand Slam titles since they last met seven years ago.

Their similar styles, though, made for athletic exchanges, as both used the width of the court, threw in short balls, served big.

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"I have to take away the things that didn't work well for me and get back and work through those, look for my next opportunities", said Sharapova whose fate was sealed against Diatchenko when she served up her 11th double fault of the match.

'First rounds are always tricky.

A sloppy service game allowed Vikhlyantseva to level matters at 4-4 and Konta then had to fend off two set points on serve.

With Sasnovich closing out the first set, Kvitova rallied to take an early lead in the second set.

- Angelique Kerber on whether she considers herself a good "wind player".

"I'm looking forward to it".

The Russian has a one up on her Russian counterpart dating back to Roland Garros in 2015 where she held her off in straight sets. She's a feisty player.

"I definitely had several chances, although I was not playing my best tennis", Sharapova said in her post-match press conference Tuesday night.

Her form slumped afterwards previous year and she continued to struggle at the start of 2018 under new American coach Michael Joyce, but she has rediscovered some form back on grass. He was a different animal this time around, a big-serving, fitter and stronger man, and one with growing confidence as the top-ranked singles Briton at Wimbledon.

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