Sharapova upset by Osaka in 1st round at Indian Wells
Maria Sharapova returns the ball to Anett Kontaveit at the WTA tennis tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, on April 28, 2017. (Bernd Weissbrod/dpa via AP)
The Associated Press
Published Thursday, March 8, 2018 7:52AM EST
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Maria Sharapova's return to the BNP Paribas Open for the first time in three years ended in a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Naomi Osaka of Japan on Wednesday night.
Sharapova's ranking of No. 41 in the world forced her to play a first-round match in the tournament she has won twice. A failed doping test led to a 15-month ban for the five-time major winner.
She trailed 4-1 in the first set before holding serve at 4-all. But Osaka held to go up 5-4 and broke Sharapova on a double fault to close out the set.
Ranked 44th in the world, Osaka took a 4-2 lead in the second set. Sharapova broke to tie it 4-all before Osaka won the final two games to end the 1 1/2-hour match.
Sam Stosur overcame a slow start to beat American Lauren Davis 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Two American teenagers advanced to the second round.
Amanda Anisimova defeated 94th-ranked Pauline Parmentier 6-2, 6-2 for her first WTA Tour victory. The 16-year-old Anisimova, who earned a wild card into the main draw, is the U.S. Open junior champion.
Caroline Dolehide, a 19-year-old wild card, fired 11 aces in outlasting 78th-ranked Shelby Rogers, 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-3 in 2 1/2 hours.
In other matches on the first day of the two-week tournament, Belinda Bencic saved a match point in beating Timea Babos, 1-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4), while wild card Genie Bouchard lost to qualifier Sachia Vickery, 6-3, 6-4.
Serena Williams returns to the tour for the first time in 14 months Thursday when she plays a first-round match.