Moscow - Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova crashed out in the
first round of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow on Tuesday, losing in straight
sets to Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova.
eighth, overcame the former world number one 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 in one hour,
53 minutes to level her head-to-head record with Sharapova at one all.
was appearing in front of her home fans just 48 hours after claiming
the Tianjin Open, her first title since returning in April from a
15-month doping ban.
The Kremlin Cup was the world number 57's
eighth wildcard invitation since testing positive for the banned
substance meldonium in early 2016.
"I fought hard today as I really wanted to show my best in Moscow after a 10-year break," the 30-year-old said.
it hadn't been the Kremlin Cup I probably wouldn't have come to play in
any other event after playing five matches in five days in China.
"Physically I felt I was well but it seems that it wasn't enough to win today.
"She (Rybarikova) played really intelligent tennis. She played skilfully, running for every single ball."
pair traded breaks late in the opening set, which Bratislava resident
Rybarikova took in a tiebreak after one hour, seven minutes on court.
The second set was almost a carbon copy of the first, with Rybarikova breaking in the 10th game to take the set and the match.
was very difficult for me, because it felt like the Fed Cup. It's
absolutely normal, Maria is a huge superstar here and she's a real
champion," said Rybarikova, who is seeking her fifth career WTA title
"I'm happy that I went through this match, and it's good for my confidence. I'm very happy with that," she added.