With Madrid in the books, the 2017 WTA clay season moves on to Rome for the final big tournament before this year’s French Open. Hosted in the historic Foro Italico, the Internazionali BNL d’Italia is one of the player and fan favorite events thanks to its scenic courts and very passionate Italian tennis fans.
One player who fell for Rome’s charm a long time ago is Maria Sharapova. The five-time Grand Slam champion is a three-time winner of the event, visibly feeling comfortable in the Italian capital, so it was no surprise that the tournament was among the first ones to offer the Russian a wildcard after her suspension. Playing her third event since her 15-month hiatus, Sharapova is off to a good start after beating America’s Christina McHale in straight sets on Monday.
The Russian will have a very unique day tomorrow, as the French Tennis Federation is due to announce their decision on whether to grant Sharapova a wildcard for Roland Garros, just 30 minutes before her second-round night match against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.
While Sharapova depends on a wildcard to enter the French Open, today’s victory has already granted her low-level access into Wimbledon, as she has now gathered enough points to play qualifying in Roehampton should she not be granted a main draw wildcard.
A mix of first and second round play will continue in Rome on Tuesday, so keep checking back to Women’s Tennis Blog for all the latest from the Foro Italico.