Tianjin - Maria
Sharapova made an impressive start to the Tianjin Open on Wednesday,
beating Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu in straight sets.
Seeded ninth, Begu loomed as a tricky first-round opponent for
Sharapova, but the former world number one from Russia swept to a 6-4,
Currently ranked 86th after returning from a 15-month doping ban,
Sharapova - granted a wildcard in Tianjin - plays unseeded Magda
Linette of Poland next.
The 30-year-old Sharapova, who returned to tennis in April after
serving a suspension for taking the banned substance meldonium, has yet
to win a tournament since then.
The five-time Grand Slam winner exited the China Open last week in
the third round at the hands of Romania's Simona Halep, the newly
crowned world number one.
But Sharapova had no such trouble against Begu, seeing off the 57th-ranked Romanian in 82 minutes.
The opening matches of the Tianjin Open have been badly disrupted because of rain.