LONDON (AP) — Done with her pre-tournament verbal volleying with Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova improved to 11-0 in first-round matches at Wimbledon by beating 37th-ranked Kristina Mladenovic of France 7-6 (5), 6-3 Monday.
The third-seeded Sharapova, who won her first Grand Slam title at the All England Club in 2004, struggled through the opening set. But at 5-all in the tiebreaker, Sharapova hit a cross-court backhand winner to earn a set point, which she quickly converted with an over-the-shoulder backhand volley winner off Mladenovic's lob.
Sharapova drew attention over the weekend by delivering a sharp news-conference rebuke to Williams over critical comments attributed to the top-seeded American in a recent magazine article.
Williams has won their last 13 head-to-head matches, including the French Open final this month.