wimbledon.logoMaria Sharapova outclassed Dutch qualifier Richel Hogenkamp as the former Wimbledon champion breezed into the third round with a straight sets victory on Wednesday.

Fourth seed Sharapova took 65 minutes to see off the world number 123 in a 6-3, 6-1 second round win.

Sharapova faces either Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine or Romanian 29th seed Irina-Camelia Begu in the round of 32.

Hogenkamp, 23, was making her main draw debut at the All England Club but was no match for the Russian 2004 champion.

Sharapova followed her boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov on the 4,000-capacity Court Two, the Bulgarian 11th seed having made it though to the third round with a straight sets win over Steve Johnson of the United States.

Sharapova, 28, hit 23 winners as she booked her place in the third round.

IN THE MEANTIME, defending champion Novak Djokovic reached the Wimbledon third round on Wednesday with a win over Jarkko Nieminen which brought down the curtain on the Finn’s All England Club career.

Top seed Djokovic, who won 6-4, 6-2, 6-3, will take on Australian 27th seed Bernard Tomic for a place in the last 16 as the Serb continues his bid to win a thirdWimbledon and ninth Grand Slam crown.

It was Djokovic’s sixth career win in seven meetings against the 33-year-old Nieminen and the two men exchanged a warm embrace at the net once their 92-minute Centre Court duel had ended.

“It was his last Wimbledon so I congratulated him on a great career,” said Djokovic.

“He’s been around for many years and he’s one of the nicest guys off the court and a great fighter on it. It was a pleasure to play him.”

Djokovic overcame a break early in the first set but from then on it was plain sailing for the champion who finished with an impressive 36 winners.

“I was solid throughout. He broke early on but I regrouped and played some good tennis,” added Djokovic.

Nieminen, whose best performance at the All England Club was a quarter-final run in 2006, had ended theWimbledon career of 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt in the first round.

After his own curtain call on Wednesday, he placed a kiss on the Centre Court grass as the fans gave him and the champion a standing ovation. – Agence France-Presse

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