Rome, Italy , 11 May 2011 | AFP

Former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova made short work of her second round opponent in Rome on Tuesday, thrashing Ekaterina Makarova 6-1 6-1.

Having said on Sunday that women’s tennis had improved its strength in depth in recent years and that the old days of breezing through the first couple of rounds were long gone, Sharapova disproved her own claims.

Her Russian compatriot was never in the match and only managed to hold serve once in each set.

Sharapova was at her ruthless best and took all five of her break-point opportunities, saving the only two she faced.

Makarova also paid for a poor first serve percentage of less than one in two, meaning she was often under pressure.

Joining the former world No.1 in the third round at the Rome International clay tournament at the Foro Italico was current No.2 Francesca Schiavone.

The French Open champion had few problems in seeing off American qualifier Christina McHale 6-3 6-1.

In the men’s competition seventh seed Tomas Berdych had little difficulty in dispatching Argentine Juan Monaco 6-2 6-2 in an early second round match.

French 16th seed Richard Gasquet was the first man through to the third round as he thrashed Russian qualifier Igor Andreev 6-1 6-2.

Spanish ninth seed Nicolas Almagro also had few problems in his first round clash against Italian wild card Simone Bolelli, winning 6-0 7-5.

But 14th seed Stanislas Wawrinka was made to battle all the way as he overcame another Italian wild card in Fabio Fognini 6-7 6-2 6-4.

It wasn’t a good day in the men’s competition for the hosts as yet another wild card, Flavio Cipolla, lost to former world number three Ivan Ljubicic 6-2 6-3.

His compatriot Mario Cilic also reached the second round as he prevailed in the battle of big-serving Croatians with Ivo Karlovic retiring while trailing 6-4 1-0.

Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm lost 7-5 6-2 to Czech Lucie Safarova and Chinese lucky loser Zheng Jie was beaten by Italian wild card Alberta Brianti 6-4 7-5.

Another Italian wildcard, Romina Oprandi, caused the upset of the day, knocking out Estonian 14th seed Kaia Kanepi 7-5 3-6 6-1.

There were also first round victories for German 12th seed Andrea Petkovic and Russian 16th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova as well as Australian qualifier Anastasia Rodionova, who beat Yaroslava Shvedova 6-4 6-4.