Toronto - Anett
Kontaveit spoiled Maria Sharapova's return from injury on Monday, rallying
to beat the five-time Grand Slam champion 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 at the WTA
tournament in Toronto.
Sharapova, competing for the first time since retiring from her
first-round match at Wimbledon, appeared to be on course for just a
fourth match win since January when she went up a set and an early break
on the 16th seed from Estonia.
Having forced the third set, Kontaveit gave herself a chance to serve
for the match with a break of serve in an epic ninth game. Sharapova
hung on through nine deuces before Kontaveit converted her third break
chance in a game that lasted more than 15 minutes.
"I was just trying to take it point by point and not think about the
score that much. It worked in the end," said Kontaveit, who converted
her first match point in the following game when Sharapova sent a
service return long.
While Kontaveit readies herself for a second round match against
either Venus Williams or Carla Suarez Navarro - who open play on Centre
Court on Tuesday - Sharapova will set her sights on next week's
tournament in Cincinnati, where she has received a wild card just as she
did in Toronto.
"I don't think this is the time to take a break," she said.
The 32-year-old has slipped to 82nd in the world rankings after
another season marred by injury. She had missed more than four months in
the wake of right shoulder surgery when she returned for the grass
court season this year.
She was forced out of Wimbledon by a left forearm injury.
Sharapova said Monday's physical battle showed she'd made progress since Wimbledon.
"I put a lot of work in to get to this stage, so I think to finish
off this match is good," she said.
"Definitely not the result I would
have liked, but overall feeling pretty good about it.
"I'm still building the confidence and my form and that's something
that's just going to come with time and with match play," she added.
"Unfortunately, I just haven't had that yet, so will just hopefully try
to build on it."
The top eight seeds
in the key US Open tune-up receive first round byes - a group led by
world number one Ash Barty of Australia which also includes No 2 Naomi
Osaka of Japan, fourth-seeded Wimbledon champion Simona Halep and
eighth-seeded Serena Williams.
German 12th seed Angelique Kerber was unable to make to the second
round, however, the three-time Grand Slam champion beaten 0-6, 6-2, 6-4
by Russian Daria Kasatkina.
Two former champions made it safely into the second round, Caroline
Wozniacki and Belinda Bencic both posting straight-sets wins.
Denmark's Wozniacki, seeded 15th, shook off an early break of
service, rallying from 2-4 down in the opening set to win in 90 minutes.
The Dane, who lifted the WTA's Canadian Premier-level title in 2010
when the tournament was in Montreal, hasn't always thrived in the years
in which Toronto hosted, although she did make it to the final in 2017.
"I'm just happy to be here and win another match here and get a good start," Wozniacki said.
"We'll see how it goes.
Switzerland's Bencic, seeded 11th, advanced with ease, dispatching Russian qualifier Anastasia Potapova 6-2, 6-1.
Despite the lopsided scoreline, Bencic needed four match points to close it out.
Bencic won the second WTA title of her career in Toronto in 2015,
beating four of the top-six players in the world, including Serena
But she hasn't played in Toronto since as her precocious WTA rise was stalled by a string of injuries.
Results from the WTA tournament in Toronto on Monday (x denotes seeding):
Sofia Kenin (USA) bt Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) 6-4, 6-3
Dayana Yastremska (UKR) bt Johanna Konta (GBR x13) 6-3, 6-2
Belinda Bencic (SUI x11) bt Anastasia Potapova (RUS) 6-2, 6-1
Julia Goerges (GER) bt Polona Hercog (SLO) 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (7/5)
Anett Kontaveit (EST x16) bt Maria Sharapova (RUS) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Daria Kasatkina (RUS) bt Angelique Kerber (GER x12) 0-6, 6-2, 6-4
Francesca Di Lorenzo (USA) bt Petra Martic (CRO) 6-4, 7-5
Marie Bouzkova (CZE) bt Leylah Fernandez (CAN) 6-0, 6-1
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) bt Caroline Garcia (FRA) 6-3, 6-3
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) bt Xiyu Wang (CHN) 6-2, 6-4
Jennifer Brady (USA) bt Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-1, 6-2
Elise Mertens (BEL) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x15) bt Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-4, 6-2