Maria Sharapova made a Grand Slam comeback

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Maria Sharapova made a winning return to Grand Slam tennis when she came from behind to beat Belarus's Anastasiya Yakimova 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the first round of the French Open here on Monday.

The Russian former world number one, who underwent surgery on her right shoulder last August and only returned to singles action in Warsaw last week, was contesting her first Grand Slam match since a second-round defeat to countrywJustify Fulloman Alla Kudryavtseva at last year's Wimbledon.

Sharapova, a three-time Grand Slam winner, made a shaky start, double-faulting at break point in her first service game and then conceding another break after rallying to lead 3-2.

The 22-year-old, wearing a blue dress and sporting strapping on her right shoulder, displayed flashes of her characteristically uncompromising groundstrokes but struggled to find any consistency with her serve.

An over-cooked cross-court backhand from the Russian handed Yakimova another break and a 5-3 lead, with the world number 64 Belarusian tying up the first set when her opponent scooped a tired backhand into the net.

Sharapova responded assertively in the second set, breaking twice to race into a 4-0 lead and leveling the match after Yakimova had called for a medical time-out to receive treatment for a back problem.

The Sharapova radar was slightly off-kilter and she earned the ire of the French crowd for questioning a couple of third-set line calls before eventually securing victory to set up a meeting with compatriot and number 11 seed Nadia Petrova.


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