NOTTINGHAM, England — Caroline Wozniacki’s first match in more than two months ended in victory as she beat Cagla Buyukakcay of Turkey 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the Nottingham Open on Tuesday.
Wozniacki rolled her right ankle while practicing for the Fed Cup in early April and she missed the European clay-court swing. She’d last played in late March in Miami.
“It’s just great to be back,” she said. “You feel a bit rusty out there but at the same time it could have been a lot worse.”
It was worse for two other seeds: No. 5 Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium lost to Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 7-6 (7), and No. 7 Mona Barthel of Germany fell to Alison Riske of the United States 6-2, 6-1.
Hlavackova was a lucky loser from qualifying who was promoted late into the main draw. Three qualifiers also won their openers: Ashleigh Barty of Australia, Michelle Larcher De Brito of Portugal, and Tara Moore of Britain, who was making her main draw debut on tour.
MOSCOW (AP) Maria Sharapova was beaten by Magdalena Rybarikova 7-6 (3), 6-4 in the first round of the Kremlin Cup on Tuesday, ending her bid for a second title in two weeks.
Sharapova, who won the Tianjin Open two days ago, brought her usual power but lacked accuracy with some wild swings on key points.
“I felt fine physically, to be honest, especially after having played five matches in five days (in Tianjin). That was a big surprise,” Sharapova said. “Maybe I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been … Maybe if this tournament hadn’t been in Moscow, I wouldn’t have played it.”
Sharapova was under pressure on serve from the start and saved six break points before finally being broken to 6-5. She responded by breaking Rybarikova, but Sharapova’s double fault at 4-3 in the tiebreaker handed the Slovakian the momentum to close out the set.
Rybarikova, seeded eighth, sealed the match after saving two break points to lead 5-4, then breaking Sharapova in the next game. Rybarikova will play Alize Cornet in the second round.
Six months after she returned from a 15-month doping ban, Sharapova is still trying to move back up the rankings from her current position of 57th. Her first tour appearance in Moscow in a decade drew a large and enthusiastic crowd despite taking place on a Tuesday afternoon.
Also Tuesday, seventh-seeded Julia Goerges beat Russian qualifier Polina Monova 6-0, 6-3 to set up a second-round meeting with Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan.
In the men’s Kremlin Cup tournament, sixth-seeded Damir Dzumhur defeated Thomas Fabbiano 6-3, 0-6, 6-2.
TIANJIN, China (AP) Maria Sharapova won her first WTA title since returning from a doping ban after defeating Aryna Sabalenka to win the Tianjin Open on Sunday.
The Russian, a tournament wild card, overcame Belarusian teenager Sabalenka 7-5, 7-6 (8) despite trailing heavily in both sets.
Sharapova last won a title at the Italian Open in May 2015.
The former top-ranked player and owner of five major titles, including the 2006 U.S. Open, tested positive for the newly banned drug meldonium at the Australian Open in January 2016. That led to a 15-month doping ban, which expired in April.
“Such a special, special tournament, and victory for me, one that I’ll remember forever,” Sharapova said. “Sometimes you never know when it will all come together but it happened to me this week in Tianjin.”
Sharapova displayed resilience as she came from behind in both sets to overcome her 19-year-old opponent.
Sabalenka led 4-1 in the opener and 5-1 in the second before relenting to Sharapova’s greater big-match experience. It was Sharapova’s 36th WTA singles title.
The 30-year-old Sharapova played in her first Grand Slam tournament following the ban at the U.S. Open in August, where she reached the fourth round. Sunday’s result will lift Sharapova up to No. 57 in the world rankings.