BEIJING – Maria Sharapova gained revenge over the Latvian 16th seed Anastasija Sevastova with a gutsy 7-6 (7/Three), 5-7, 7-6 (9/7) victory within the China Open first spherical on Saturday. It was the five-time Grand Slam winner’s first look since she was crushed by Sevastova on the US Open in early September and will get her stop-start return from a doping ban again on observe.
Sharapova, ranked 104 on the earth, is a wildcard in Beijing as she works her means again slowly from a 15-month ban for taking the banned substance meldonium. She was removed from her greatest, however Sharapova dug in throughout an attritional match lasting greater than three hours.
Sevastova broke the Russian former primary — who had nearly all of the group behind her — within the seventh sport of the primary set to grab the early initiative. Sharapova instantly broke again for Four-Four, earlier than falling 6-5 down on her personal serve when her drop shot went astray, solely to strike again instantly to power a tie break.
“Come on!” the previous China Open champion Sharapova shouted as she wrapped up the first-set tie break. The 30-year-old seemed set to race by means of the second set to e book her place in spherical two. However her serve was suspect all match and the Latvian refused to submit.
Sevastova broke Sharapova as soon as extra because the match clock hit the two-hour mark to degree the encounter at one-set every, earlier than Sharapova lastly noticed off her resilient opponent in an epic decider. Earlier, the second seed Simona Halep battled previous the American Alison Riske in three units, 6-Three, Three-6, 6-2.