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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 June 2007, 06:53 GMT 07:53 UK
Sharapova upbeat on grass return
Maria Sharapova training in Birmingham
Sharapova plays in the DFC Classic in Birmingham on Wednesday
Maria Sharapova believes her ability on grass will boost her bid to recover form after a shoulder injury to take her second Wimbledon title next month.

French Open semi-finalist Sharapova returns to her favourite surface in Birmingham on Wednesday.

"I've done it before so I can do it again. Grass definitely suits my game.

"I did it three years ago when I was the size of spaghetti, so I definitely can do it now - I'm definitely stronger than I was a year ago," she said.

World number two Sharapova has a bye into the second round of the DFS Classic, where she will play American qualifier Lilia Osterloh.

She insists the enforced injury lay-off earlier this year increased her hunger for more success.

"Being away from the game for almost two months, I was definitely ready to get back and compete," she said.

"The competition is why I play tennis and that's what I miss. You can only practise for so long. There is nothing like being on centre court."

In the first shock of the DFS Classic on Monday, 14th seed Michaella Krajicek was beaten 7-6 6-4 by Ukraine's Juliana Fedak, who is 96 places below her in the world rankings.

Other seeded players, Russian Maria Kirilenko, Eleni Daniilidou of Greece, Ukraine's Julia Vakulenko and American Meilen Tu safely made it past the first hurdle with straight-set wins.

  • Former French Open women's champion Anastasia Myskina has withdrawn from Wimbledon because of a foot injury.

    The Russian has been struggling with a toe problem this year and was knocked out of the first round of the French Open 6-1 6-0 by Meghann Shaughnessy.

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