All Ova for Maria
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:22
The Russian former world number one, playing in doubles for the first time in four years, teamed up with compatriot Elena Vesnina in the first round, but lost 6-1 4-6 10-7 to Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova and Tatiana Poutchek of Belarus in one hour and 29 minutes.
The 21-year-old three-time grand slam winner last played competitively last July in Montreal before missing the US Open, and was then unable to defend her Australian Open title earlier this year due to shoulder injury.
After aborting comeback plans at the Paris Open and in Dubai, Sharapova, who is now ranked 23 in the world, will not compete in the singles in Indian Wells but is expected to return in Miami later this month.
After winning the first game of the match, Sharapova and Vesnina lost the next six games to drop the first set in just 30 minutes as they were broken three times and had a first-serve percentage of just 38%.
But after an early trade of breaks at the beginning of the second set, Sharapova and Vesnina grabbed a decisive break to lead 3-2 before earning a decider as they took the set in 44 minutes.
But they pair were unable to maintain their momentum and Makarova and Poutchek wrapped up the third set tie-break to advance to the second round.