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Maria Sharapova kicks off Italian Open with victory over Barty

Maria Sharapova

Rome, May 16 (UITV/IANS)- Three-time Italian Open champion Maria Sharapova of Russia on Tuesday battled past Australia's 16th-seeded Ashleigh Barty 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, in the first round of this year's tourney here.

Participating for the 10th time in the tournament, the Russian needed two hours and 32 minutes to eliminate world No.6 Barty, reports Efe.

Sharapova, the world's No. 40, is set to play the second round on Wednesday against Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova, who defeated Italy's Francesca Schiavone.

The Russian player has won three of her six clashes with Cibulkova.