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Tennis Roundup: Sharapova wins on return from six-month injury break

Last updated on: June 18, 2019 23:16 IST

It was the Russian's first competitive match since she withdrew from the St Petersburg Open in January.

Maria Sharapova

IMAGE: Maria Sharapova has been out of action since January with a right shoulder injury that required surgery. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Maria Sharapova launched her comeback from a six-month injury layoff with a 7-6(8), 6-0 first-round victory over Viktoria Kuzmova at the Mallorca Open grasscourt tournament on Tuesday.

The Russian five-times Grand Slam champion, out since January with a right shoulder injury that required surgery, saved a couple of set points in a tight opening set in blazing sunshine but romped through the second in quick time.

It was Sharapova's first competitive match since she withdrew from the St Petersburg Open in January, saying she needed to sort out the problem with her serving shoulder.

Apart from some double-faults in the opening set when she dropped serve to trail 5-6, there was nothing to suggest the 32-year-old was having any lingering problems from the right shoulder that has caused her problems for a decade.

She broke back immediately to force a tiebreak but had to fend off a set point at 6-7 and another at 7-8 as the 21-year-old Kuzmova, ranked 39 places higher than Sharapova at 46, troubled the Russian with some big serves.

Sharapova, who took a wildcard for the tournament, snatched the opener on her second set point as Kuzmova netted a forehand.

There was little resistance from Kuzmova in the second set as Sharapova set up a potential clash with top seed and reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber.

Osaka outlasts Sakkari to move into last-16

World number one Naomi Osaka was tested by Maria Sakkari in her first-round match at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham but eventually went through to the last-16 of the grasscourt tournament with a hard-fought 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 win on Tuesday.

In her first match since her third-round exit at Roland Garros earlier this month, 21-year-old Osaka struggled with her first serve against the world number 33 and took two hours to dispatch her Greek opponent.

However, the Japanese, who lost to Sakkari prior to her US Open title run last year, did manage to fire seven aces and won five break points to clinch victory on a surface she had previously admitted was not her strongest.

Elsewhere, former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko stormed into the next round with a 6-0, 6-2 demolition of Iga Swiatek while Petra Martic saw off the challenge of Ekaterina Alexandrova with a 6-3, 7-5 win.

Venus Williams' match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich was delayed due to rain while second seed and French Open champion Ashleigh Barty is set to take on Donna Vekic later on Tuesday.

Kyrgios welcomes 'warrior' Murray's return

Nick Kyrgios

IMAGE:Australian maverick Nick Kyrgios. Photograph: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Australian Nick Kyrgios has welcomed Andy Murray's return to tennis after hip surgery, saying he could not believe his eyes when he ran into the Briton practising at Queens Club on Monday.

Murray, who underwent a hip resurfacing operation five months ago, is making his comeback this week by partnering Feliciano Lopez in the doubles.

"Andy was the first person I saw here, doing his drills," Kyrgios told reporters ahead of his opening round match against France's Adrian Mannarino. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

 

"Just to see him back healthy and happy on court is all that matters. He is a warrior. He's good enough to do damage in doubles, especially with Feliciano. I'd almost pay to watch that match."

Kyrgios has a fractious relationship with a number of senior players on the ATP Tour, including Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, but shares a warm friendship with Murray.

The Scot has defended Kyrgios on a number of occasions when the younger player ruffled feathers with his on-court behaviour and barbed criticism of his fellow professionals.

Kyrgios said Murray had spoken to him about the possibility of them playing doubles at Wimbledon when they practiced at the All England Club a few weeks ago.

"I don't think I want to carry him for Wimbledon dubs – I think he can find someone else to do that for him," the Australian said with a smile.

Zverev cruises into second round at Halle, Monfils ousted

World number five Alexander Zverev of Germany breezed into the second round of the Halle Open with a 6-4 7-5 victory over Dutchman Robin Hasse on Monday.

Second-seeded Zverev struggled on serve at times and finished with seven double faults but he fired 12 aces and converted four break points to advance after an hour and 45 minutes.

Russian third seed Karen Khachanov also progressed by winning 7-6(5) 6-4 against Serbia's Miomir Kecmanovic -- a late replacement for Damir Dzumhur who withdrew from the tournament.

However, there was an early upset when fifth seed Gael Monfils lost 7-6(6) 6-4 to French compatriot Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Top seed Roger Federer is in action on Tuesday against John Millman, who beat the Swiss at the U.S. Open last year.

Anderson makes winning return from injury at Queen's

Kevin Anderson rallied from a set down to beat Briton Cameron Norrie 4-6 7-6(5) 6-4 in the opening round of the Queen's Club championships on Monday, marking a successful return from an elbow injury that had kept him out since March.

The world number eight, playing in his first tournament since the Miami Open, sent down 19 aces and won 93% of points on his first serve.

Up next for the towering South African, who reached last year's Wimbledon final, is Gilles Simon or another local hope in qualifier James Ward.

Daniil Medvedev, seeded fourth, powered past Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco 6-2 6-4 to move into the next round where he was joined by Marin Cilic who staved off a late comeback attempt by Cristian Garin to prevail 6-1 7-6(5).

French qualifier Nicholas Mahut overcame American Frances Tiafoe 6-3 7-6(5) while Diego Schwartzman of Argentina beat Alexander Bublik 6-2 6-3 to set up a meeting with Cilic.

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