March 12, 2009

She's Ba-ack!

Sort of, anyway.

This week former world #1 Maria Sharapova returns to the WTA tour for the first time since last August when an injured rotator cuff sidelined her for the rest of the 2008 season. She was forced to skip the last two Grand Slams, unable to defend her Australian Open title, and pulled out of tournaments in both Paris and Dubai earlier this year.

Maria makes her return in the doubles bracket of Indian Wells, teaming with compatriot Elena Vesnina, incidentally the doubles champ here last year. It's the first time she's played in that draw in almost four years

Maria isn't exactly a doubles specialist -- she's never played enough tournaments to maintain an elite ranking. But she did acheive a career-high of #41 in 2004 and has even won three titles in the discipline, partnering with Maria Kirilenko and Tamarine Tanasugarn. Vesnina, who as a doubles player made it to the quarterfinals in Auckland and Dubai, has climbed her way to her own personal-high rank of #15 and could be a great complement as Maria vies for her first victory in more than half a year.

They take on their first opponents tonight, Ekaterina Makarova and Tatiana Poutchek, with the hope of meeting the sixth-seeded team, led by Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, in the second round. It's possible a good run of luck in California could presage an even stronger singles comeback for Sharapova in a few months -- it's certainly a lower-pressure venue in which to get some real competetive practice. Though I doubt she'll take home a trophy, it'll be nice to see her pump her fist in victory again.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's missed her presence on the court!

1 comment:

Kavitha said...

And she's out.

It was closer than you may have expected, but after rallying in the second set, Maria Sharapova and Elena Vesnina squandered a 7-4 lead in the match tiebreak and lost 1-6, 6-4, 7-10.

It might not have been the comeback she wanted, but at least she got back out there.

Can't wait to see her on the singles court!