Sharapova makes winning return at Stanford

Maria Sharapova made a winning return from injury on Monday at the Stanford Classic, overcoming a tough challenge from Jennifer Brady.

It was the Russian’s first competitive game since May, and she weathered a mid-match comeback from her young American opponent to eventually triumph 6-1, 4-6, 6-0.

Sharapova, who was given a wildcard entry into the tournament following her April return from a doping ban, took two hours and two minutes to edge out Brady.

It all started so well for Sharapova, who broke her opponent four times in the opening set, before slumping to 3-0 down early in the second.

She mounted a comeback before eventually losing out as Brady forced a decider, but the five-time grand slam champion took control once more in the third set, breaking Brady three times to claim the win.

In other Round-of-32 action, fifth seed Ana Konjuh of Croatia and number seven seed Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine enjoyed more comfortable progress.

Konjuh was 6-3, 1-0 up over New Zealand qualifier Marina Erakovic when Erakovic retired through injury, while Tsurenko beat Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena 6-3, 6-3 to set up a second-round match up with Sharapova.

Young American Kayla Day, 17, easily beat Japan’s Misaki Doi 6-4, 6-2 while Russia’s Natalia Vikhlyantseva beat qualifier Danielle Lao 6-4, 6-3.

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