The more-than-a-year suspension from the sport has done nothing to stop Maria Sharapova from pursuing the race to become the numero uno in women's tennis again. On Wednesday April 26, the Russian beauty defeated Italy's Roberta Vinci in straight sets 7-5 6-3 to comfortably progress to the second round of the Stuttgart Open 2017.
Sharapova, 30, now battles her compatriot Ekaterina Makarova on Thursday April 27.
"I've been waiting for this for a long time," said Sharapova following her first round match at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix 2017. "It's the best feeling in the world, those first few seconds before you enter the arena. To know you were walking back out there was special.
Sharapova hit 11 aces and 39 winners, en route to her win against Vinci.
The Russian tennis star received a wildcard entry for the Stuttgart Open, which was questioned by several tennis players and coaches. Sharapova also bagged a wildcard entry for the upcoming tournaments this year, in Madrid and Rome.
However, a decision over whether she is getting a wildcard for French Open 2017, scheduled to start May 28, will only arrive May 16.
Sharapova vs Makarova: Match schedule
- Date: April 27
- Time: Approx 6 pm IST [12:30 pm GMT, 8:30 am EST] (followed by the Johanna Konta vs Sevastova match)
- Venue: Center Court, Porsche Arena.
Where to watch and follow
India: TV: No live coverage.
USA, Australia, France, Middle East: TV: Bein Sports. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.
Germany: TV: DAZN. Live Streaming: DAZN Online.
UK and Ireland: TV: BT Sport.
Live tennis score: WTA website.