In her return to action on Tuesday, Maria Sharapova won her first match on grass since reaching Wimbledon semifinals in 2015. The five-time Grand Slam champion took out Viktoria Kuzmova in the opening round of Mallorca, 7-6 (8), 6-0.
It has been a long road to recovery for the injury-plagued Sharapova, who was forced to undergo a shoulder procedure earlier this year. She was playing her first match since pulling out of her second-round encounter in St. Petersburg in January. The former world No. 1's ranking has dropped to No. 85.
First match in a few months. First win on grass since 15’. I don’t usually get my phone out until I’m finished with my cool down ( only to write to mama ????) but this deserves a selfie ????????????♀️ pic.twitter.com/YARbPdRb3Z— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) June 18, 2019
"I've been through it before, 10 years ago with the shoulder. My shoulder has been troublesome for a majority of my career," Sharapova said. "Before it was about pain management, but in January, I wasn't really enjoying playing because after every match I would think about what we would do to help my shoulder.
Kuzmova, who fell in the first round of the Libema Open last week, stood toe-to-toe with the 2004 Wimbledon champion in the opening set. There were no breaks of serve until the 21-year-old drew the first blood in the 11th game, but she failed to serve it out as Sharapova forced a tiebreaker, closing it out on her second-set point.
The 32-year-old Russian carried the momentum into the second, serving up a bagel set for a spot in the second round, where she will face either top-seeded Angelique Kerber or qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure.