Sharapova wins first WTA match in US since 2015 at Stanford

AP
Maria Sharapova shakes off some rust after injury and a 15-month doping ban to beat Jennifer Brady in her first match in the US in over two years at the Bank of the West Classic.
AP
Reuters

Maria Sharapova of Russia hits a backhand against American Jennifer Brady during their first-round Bank of the West Classic match at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, on July 31, 2017..

Maria Sharapova played her first WTA match in the United States since 2015 and beat Jennifer Brady 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 on Monday night in the opening round of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford University.

Sharapova, a wildcard entrant and five-time Grand Slam champion, won the opening four games of the match, lost the first three of the second set and cruised in the third.

"I feel like I just want to hug everyone and say thank you," Sharapova said in an on-court interview. "It's my first match in the States in a really long time, and it's the closest thing to home for me."

Sharapova served a 15-month ban after testing positive for a newly banned drug at the 2016 Australian Open. She returned in April and played in three tournaments, but missed Wimbledon because of an injury.

Top-seeded and reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza will play 17-year-old American Kayla Day, a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Japanese veteran Misaki Doi.

Ana Konjuh, the No. 5 seed from Croatia, won 6-3, 1-0 after New Zealand qualifier Marina Erakovic retired from the match with an injury. Seventh-seeded Lesia Tsurenko beat Spain's Lara Arruabarrena 6-3, 6-3.

In Washington DC, Russia's Daniil Medvedev overcame an ankle injury then fought off a match point to advance to the second round of the Citi Open on Monday, Reuters reported.

Medvedev twisted his ankle late in the third set and fought off a match point against Reilly Opelka before he prevailed 6-7 (8), 6-3, 7-6 (6) to move into a second-round clash with American Steve Johnson.

The men's draw suffered a minor blow when John Isner, who won the Atlanta title last week and has been beaten three times in the final in Washington in 2007, 2013 and 2015, had to withdraw from the tournament with a knee injury.

"Disappointed to have withdrawn from the @CitiOpen this year," Isner posted on Twitter. "Unfortunately, I'm just not quite fit enough for it this year. I'll be back!"

In other first-round men's action, American Donald Young beat compatriot Tim Smyczek 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, to set up a second-round clash with world No. 9 Kei Nishikori of Japan.

Austria's world No. 7 Dominic Thiem, the top seed, is due to play on Tuesday, while former Argentina's US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro is also on court.

Home favorite and women's third seed Lauren Davis was upset by Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 5-7, 3-6, on Monday, while former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic retired while trailing Frenchwoman Oceane Dodin 0-2 in the third set.

German fourth seed Julia Goerges defeated Francoise Abanda of Canada 6-4, 6-4.

Top seeded Simona Halep of Romania will face American Sloane Stephens, who won the tournament in 2015, in their first round.


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