Radwanska out of Sharapova's way in Stuttgart

Maria Sharapova returns to the WTA Tour in Stuttgart on Wednesday, and things are already going her way after Agnieszka Radwanska was beaten.

Published : Apr 26, 2017 03:43 IST

Agnieszka Radwanska's elimination caused a slight tremor as the Stuttgart Open braces for the seismic return of Maria Sharapova to the WTA Tour.

Sharapova will play Roberta Vinci on Wednesday - her first competitive outing in over 15 months after being banned for taking the banned steroid meldonium.

Whether the Russian can hit the ground running, on clay courts no less, is yet to be seen, but a major obstacle in her side of the draw was removed as potential second-round opponent, and seventh seed, Radwanska went down to Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets.

Radwanska faced a whopping 15 break points, impressively saving 10 of them, as Makarova took advantage to set up a potential meeting with her high-profile compatriot.

Makarova showed signs of nerves as she went 0-40 down while serving for the match, but they were replaced by evidence of a steely resolve as she clawed her way back to deuce and another Radwanska miss put her through.

Also in Sharapova's side of the draw, where top seed and world number two Angelique Kerber lies in wait, Anett Kontaveit beat Ana Konjuh to book a second-round meeting with French Open champion Garbine Muguruza.

Svetlana Kuznetsova (8) beat Kiki Bertens 6-3 5-7 6-3 in a typical marathon affair for the Russian veteran, with Laura Siegemund, Barbora Strycova and Anastasija Sevastova also first-round winners.

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