MADRID – Maria Sharapova made a winning return from injury on Tuesday by beating Viktoria Kuzmova 7-6 (10/8) 6-0 to reach the second round of the Mallorca Open.
The five-time Grand Slam champion has not played since the end of January after taking time out to recover from a shoulder injury, but edged a tight opening set against Kuzmova before strolling through the second.
Victory on the grass will come as a timely boost to morale for Sharapova, with the start of Wimbledon now less than two weeks away.
Angelique Kerber could now await Sharapova in round two, with the top-seeded German up against Belgium’s Ysaline Bonaventure later on Tuesday.
Kerber has struggled for form herself this year, but is likely to offer a sterner test than Kuzmova, the Slovak ranked 46th in the world, and who is still only 21.