rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » PHOTOS: Sharapova struggles but advances on return

PHOTOS: Sharapova struggles but advances on return

August 01, 2017 13:06 IST

'I feel like I just want to hug everyone and say thank you.'

Maria Sharapova

IMAGE: Maria Sharapova celebrates after winning her match. Photograph: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Maria Sharapova shook off some rust after injury and a 15-month doping ban to beat Jennifer Brady in her first match in the United States in more than two years on Monday at the Stanford Classic.

The five-times Grand Slam champion, who returned to tennis in April after being banned for testing positive for meldonium, suffered a thigh injury at the Italian Open in May and struggled to put away Brady before she advanced with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 win.

"I feel like I just want to hug everyone and say thank you," Sharapova told an on-court interview after her triumph as a tournament wildcard.

"It's my first match in the States in a really long time, and it's the closest thing to home for me. The welcome has been incredible and finally playing so close to home was really special."

Maria Sharapova

IMAGE: Maria Sharapova in action. Photograph: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Sharapova was pushed by Brady who forced several long games during the match.

In the opening set, Sharapova saved three break points in the sixth game but managed to hold to take a 5-1 lead before she sealed the set in the next game.

Maria Sharapova

IMAGE: Maria Sharapova signs autographs after her match. Photograph: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Brady rebounded when she raced away to a 3-0 lead in the second set, before Sharapova regrouped to run away with the match in the third to set up a clash with seventh seed Lesia Tsurenko, who beat Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino 6-3, 6-3.

"I had a bit of a letdown but that's the way it is," Sharapova said of her loss of the second set.

"I feel like I face a lot of things: not competing for a long time, (and) an opponent who's able to play some great tennis."

"I feel like I'm playing catch-up against everyone.

"All that matters is that I keep playing. The more I play, the better I'll do. That's the goal."

Source:
© Copyright 2017 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.