Stanford | Sharapova makes winning return
Maria Sharapova won her first professional match on US soil in over two years following her 15-month drug suspension and more recently, a hip injury picked up in Rome.
But the former world number one and five-time grand slam winner, didn’t have it all here own way in here opening match at the Stanford Classic with Jennifer Brady of the US taking her to three sets, albeit collapsing in the third.
I had a bit of a let-down but that’s the way it is. You finish a set and think you’ve got it, but she came out firing, capable of hitting winners and big servesMaria Sharapova
Sharapova secured her 6-1 4-6 6-0 victory in just over two hours and declared in her on court interview: “I feel like I just want to hug everyone and say thank you. It’s my first match in the States in a really long time, and it’s the closest thing to home for me.”
The Russian was granted a wildcard for Stanford as she attempts to improve her ranking which currently stands at 171 and has already been offered and accepted similar opportunities into the WTA event at Cincinnati.
She now goes on to play Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko who beat Spain’s Lara Arrabarrena 6-3 6-3 and will have to pick up her game is she is to make further progress.
“I had a bit of a let-down but that’s the way it is,” Sharapova sdmitted. “You finish a set and think you’ve got it, but she came out firing, capable of hitting winners and big serves.”
Early in the third Sharapova fought off two break points to consolidate her lead an finish it off in style.
“I feel like I face a lot of things: not competing for a long time, an opponent who’s able to play some great tennis … I feel like I’m playing catch-up against everyone who’s had a head start,” Sharapova continued. “All that matters is that I keep playing.”
Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, who stunned Venus Williams in the final at the All England Club, is the top seed and she will opne her campaign in round two following a bye, against American Kayla Day, who defeated Japan’s Misaki Doi 6-4 6-2.