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Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Sharapova, new world No. 3 Jankovic advance

Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, England -- Maria Sharapova and Jelena Jankovic advanced to the third round at the DFS Classic on Wednesday.

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Sharapova, who is trying to win her third straight title at the Wimbledon warm-up tournament, struggled early but beat American qualifier Lilia Osterloh 6-4, 6-0. Jankovic defeated Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-4, 6-1.

Sharapova and Jankovic lost in the semifinals at the French Open last week.

"[Grass] is so different from clay and makes you use different muscles, which can be difficult at first. But I always enjoy playing on this surface," Sharapova said. "And that performance was OK."

Sharapova faced two break points in her opening service game, but recovered and eased through the second set. The second-ranked Russian will next face Tamira Paszek of Austria, who beat 13th-seeded Meilen Tu of the United States 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Jankovic, who lost to top-ranked Justine Henin in the semifinals at Roland Garros, has moved up to No. 3 in the rankings.

"I've shown I can beat every player in the world except Henin," the second-seeded Serb said. "I've had difficulty with her but I was close quite a few times. I think I belong at the top of the game."

Jankovic is aiming for Wimbledon, which starts June 25.

"Wimbledon is one of my favorite tournaments and I would love to play well and do well there," Jankovic said. "It's my dream to become No. 1 and maybe if I stay healthy I will make it."

Eighth-seeded Mara Santangelo of Italy and No. 9 Julia Vakulenko of Ukraine also advanced. Santangelo beat Sania Mirza of India 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (6), and Vakulenko defeated Andreja Klepac of Slovenia 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3. Yuliana Fedak of Ukraine defeated Milagros Sequera of Venezuela 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.