Maria Sharapova makes winning return, faces Angelique Kerber next
Maria Sharapova made a winning return from injury on Tuesday by beating Viktoria Kuzmova 7-6 (10/8), 6-0 to reach the second round of the Mallorca Open.
The five-time Grand Slam champion has not played since the end of January after taking time out to recover from a shoulder injury, but edged out a tight opening set against Kuzmova before strolling through the second.
Victory on the grass will come as a timely morale boost for the 32-year-old Russian, with the start of Wimbledon less than two weeks away.
"It's my first win in about three or four months," Sharapova said.
"It's great to be here in Mallorca. What a great place to train and have a warm-up tournament."
Angelique Kerber, also a former world No. 1, is set to meet Sharapova in the next round today, after the top-seeded German defeated Belgium's Ysaline Bonaventure 7-5, 4-6, 6-2.
Meanwhile, French Open champion Ashleigh Barty got her grass-court season off to a winning start with a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 win over Donna Vekic at the Birmingham Classic.
The Australian faces American Jennifer Brady next. - AFP