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Maria Sharapova right in the mix at Italian Open as Serena Williams opts out

Maria Sharapova ignored some tough conditions to claim a 6-3 6-3 victory over Bojana Jovanovski, the qualifier from Serbia, but then insisted she was not thinking about how the withdrawal of Serena Williams would impact her.

The Russian will not have to play another seed until the final after Williams opted not to play her match with Christina McHale.

"I just had to be very patient and solid," she said.

"I had a tricky opponent and obviously not in easy conditions, the wind was pretty swirly out on the court so I just had to stay steady. Despite a couple of breaks back and forth in the second set I was really happy to finish it strong.

"Regarding Serena, she's not my next round opponent so I'm thinking about the next round opponent rather than what is ahead of that."

World number one Williams said: "We had to make the right decisions for the future, not for now.

"If I continue to play it could really hurt my chances, not just for Roland Garros but for Wimbledon."

In one of the most exciting matches Spaniard Cara Suarez Navarro beat sixth seed Eugenie Bouchard from Canada 6-7 7-5 7-6 in a match lasting over three hours.

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