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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Maria Sharapova struggles to win first match

Maria Sharapova shook off some inconsistent play to beat Japan's Ai Sugiyama, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-1, in the first round of the WTA Premier Bank of the West Classic on Monday.

Maria Sharapova struggles to win first match

The 62nd-ranked Sharapova, working her way back from right shoulder surgery, avoided losing her first match in a tournament since Oct. 8, 2007, in Moscow to Victoria Azarenka. She has not lost a first round match since Aug. 11, 2003 to Elena Likhovtseva in Toronto.

Sharapova recovered from a 4-0 deficit in the first set, but then allowed a 5-2 lead in the second set to get away before dominating the third set.

"I had a pretty slow start and made a good effort to get back in the first set," Sharapova said. "I thought it was a good second set and I had a chance to close out the match, but unfortunately it didn't happen. In the third set I didn't do too many things wrong. I really stepped it up and was steady."

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