Shara­pova battles into sec­ond round at Stan­ford

Muscat Daily - - PRESS RELEASES -

Los An­ge­les, US - Five-time Grand Slam cham­pion Maria Shara­pova made a bat­tling re­turn to US hard­courts on Mon­day with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 vic­tory over Amer­i­can Jen­nifer Brady in Stan­ford, Cal­i­for­nia.

"I feel like I just want to hug ev­ery­one and say thank you," Shara­pova told fans in a post­match in­ter­view.

"It's my first match in the States in a re­ally long time, and it's the clos­est thing to home for me."

The for­mer world No 1 from Rus­sia hadn't played in the US since March of 2015, be­fore serv­ing a 15-month dop­ing sus­pen­sion for the use of mel­do­nium.

She re­turned to com­pe­ti­tion in April, but her come­back has been dis­rupted by a hip in­jury that forced her to with­draw from Wim­ble­don qual­i­fy­ing.

Shara­pova, whose rank­ing has fallen to 171 in the world, re­ceived a wild card into the premier level tour­na­ment in Stan­ford, where she was tested Mon­day by the 80th-ranked Brady.

Shara­pova, who has also ac­cepted a wildcard into the WTA tour­na­ment in Cincin­nati - an­other key warm-up for the US Open - booked a sec­ond-round meet­ing with sev­enth-seeded Ukrainian Le­sia Tsurenko, a 6-3, 6-3 win­ner over Spain's Lara Ar­ru­abar­rena.

Wim­ble­don cham­pion Gar­bine Mugu­ruza, who stunned Venus Williams in the fi­nal at the All Eng­land Club, is the top seed. She will open with a sec­on­dround match against Amer­i­can Kayla Day, who de­feated Ja­pan's Misaki Doi 6-4, 6-2 on Mon­day.

(AFP)

Maria Shara­pova in ac­tion in Stan­ford, US, on Mon­day

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