Maria Sharapova has had a very good stretch on clay and extended it today with a 7-5 7-5 victory over Christina McHale in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. The Russian has won 17 of her last 19 matches on clay, and those wins include the 2011 Rome and 2012 Stuttgart titles.
Her opening match in Rome this year was a tricky affair, as the second-seeded Sharapova trailed in both sets, especially in the first set when she had to recover from a 4-1 deficit, overcoming numerous unforced errors. The victory came after two hours and 12 minutes.
Besides finding her groove on the clay of Rome, Sharapova is using the situation to practice the Italian she's learned from fiancé Sasha Vujacic who speaks it fluently. "I can say dove vai, cosa fai, come stai, and also cosa mangiamo. E andiamo… that's very important in my life," Sharapova shared her expanding knowledge of the Italian language.
Next opponent for the defending champion will be either Ana Ivanovic or Spanish qualifier Sílvia Soler-Espinosa.
Additional info: You know that Sharapova has recently signed with Samsung. Well, here's a behind-the-scenes video of her photo shoot for the brand.
(photo courtesy of Francesca Moscatelli)