Birmingham:Former world number one Maria Sharapova cruised into the second round of the WTA Birmingham grasscourt event here on Monday with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Canada's Stephanie Dubois.
The unseeded 22-year-old Russian, twice a winner at the Edgbaston Priory Club, will now play American 19-year-old Alexa Glatch, who defeated ninth-seeded compatriot Bethanie Mattek-Sands 7-6 (7/2), 6-3.
Sharapova, a three-time Grand Slam winner, reached the quarter-finals of the French Open last week after a 10-month absence due to a shoulder injury.
It was Sharapova's first grasscourt match of the season but she raced into a 4-1 lead before surviving a break and closing out the set.
The 2004 Wimbledon champion was broken again early in the second set but hit back to break Dubois in games five and seven to complete a routine 74-minute victory.
Sharapova, who has risen to 73 in the world on the back of her French Open performance, said that she had felt right at home on the grass.
"I thought I did a really good job of getting into the groove of playing on grass again," said Sharapova.
"My goal today was to get used to the grass and my opponent, who I hadn't played before.
"I have tremendous memories from here. It seems that the fans have grown up with me here as I have played here since I was younger. That's one of the reasons why I keep coming back."
Britain's Naomi Cavaday also booked a place in the second round on the tournament's opening day, beating America's Julie Ditty 6-2, 7-6 (7/2).
In the day's all-British first-round tie, Melanie South defeated wild card Katie O'Brien in three sets, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (7/5).