Maria Sharapova returns from injury with win at the Stanford Classic

Maria Sharapova came through her first test since return from injury to defeat Jennifer Brady 6-1, 4-6, 6-0; Sharapova is now into the second round of the Stanford Classic.

The Russian took two hours and two minutes to defeat her opponent as she made her first appearance on the court since May. The 30-year-old was handed a wild card to the event, a tournament she was runner-up in back in 2010.

Sharapova’s thigh problem which she sustained in May meant the five-time Grand Slam winner could not compete at Wimbledon, after being denied a wild card for entry to the French Open.

However, the encouraging return to the court at the Stanford Classic will give her confidence as Sharapova bids to comeback to Grand Slam action at Flushing Meadows this coming August.

Sharapova won the US Open back in 2006, and had the following to say after first round victory in the  Stanford Classic:

“I feel like I just want to hug everyone and say thank you,”

“It’s my first match in the States in a really long time, and it’s the closest thing to home for me.”

— Maria Sharapova

With Sharapova missing the whole grass court season, it means the Russian will not gain automatic qualification to the US Open. The 30-year-old will therefore need a wild card for entry to the Grand Slam as she continues her comeback from her 15-month drugs ban.