Maria Sharapova makes winning return with victory in Mallorca

Maria Sharapova makes winning return with victory in Mallorca

The former world No. 1 eased past Viktoria Kuzmova, 7-6 (8), 6-0.

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.

"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.