Osaka grinds out opening win in Birmingham; Sharapova bounces back from injury in Mallorca

Despite mentioning earlier that she does not feel comfortable on grass, Osaka got off to a win in her first match in the Birmingham Classic. Meanwhile, Sharapova made a winning return from injury in Mallorca, defeating Viktoria Kuzmova.

Naomi Osaka plays a backhand during her first round match against Maria Sakkari during day two.   -  Getty Images

World number one Naomi Osaka progressed to round two of the Birmingham Classic on Tuesday, but was made to work for a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 win over Greece’s Maria Sakkari.

Osaka admitted in her pre-tournament press conference that she still does not feel comfortable on grass However, she got off to a flying start in her first match since losing in the third round of the French Open.

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Osaka broke the Sakkari serve three times in romping through the first set. The world number 33 fought back in the second to take the match to a deciding set.

Osaka needed to stave off five break points in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead but then pounced immediately for the only break in the final set.

Yulia Putintseva will face Osaka in round two after easing past Harriet Dart 6-1, 6-4.

Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko set up a second round clash with Britain’s Johanna Konta with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Iga Swiatek.

World number three Karolina Pliskova will face her twin sister Kristyna Pliskova in the next round after the latter beat Viktoriya Tomova 6-3, 6-4.

Sharapova makes winning return from injury in Mallorca

Maria Sharapova made a winning return from injury on Tuesday as she defeated Viktoria Kuzmova 7-6 (10/8), 6-0 to progress to the second round of the Mallorca Open.

She 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.

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Angelique Kerber could now await Sharapova in round two, with the top-seeded German up against Belgium's Ysaline Bonaventure later on Tuesday.

Earlier, another former major champion crashed out as France's Caroline Garcia came from behind to beat Victoria Azarenka 1-6, 6-4, 7-5.

Top seed Angelique Kerber struggled against Belgian qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure but managed to carve out a 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 victory in the round of 16.

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