Anett Kontaveit in action against Maria Sharapova during their first round match on Day 3 of the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Monday. Agence France-Presse
Anett Kontaveit spoiled Maria Sharapova’s return from injury Monday, rallying to beat the five-time Grand Slam champion 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 at the WTA tournament in Toronto.
Sharapova, competing for the first time since retiring from her first-round match at Wimbledon, appeared to be on course for just a fourth match win since January when she went up a set and an early break on the 16th seed from Estonia.
Having forced the third set, Kontaveit gave herself a chance to serve for the match with a break of serve in an epic ninth game. Sharapova hung on through nine deuces before Kontaveit converted her third break chance in a game that lasted more than 15 minutes.
“I was just trying to take it point by point and not think about the score that much. It worked in the end,” said Kontaveit. While Kontaveit readies herself for a second round match against Carla Suarez Navarro, Sharapova will set her sights on next week’s tournament in Cincinnati, where she has received a wild card just as she did in Toronto.
Navarro beat Venus in straight sets 6-4, 6-2.
Sharapova, 32-year-old has slipped to 82nd in the world rankings after another season marred by injury. She had missed more than four months in the wake of right shoulder surgery when she returned for the grass court season this year.
The top eight seeds in the key US Open tuneup receive first round byes — a group led by world number one Ash Barty of Australia which also includes No. 2 Naomi Osaka of Japan, fourth-seeded Wimbledon champion Simona Halep and eighth-seeded Serena Williams.
German 12th seed Angelique Kerber was unable to make to the second round, however, the three-time Grand Slam champion beaten 0-6, 6-2, 6-4 by Russian Daria Kasatkina.
Caroline Wozniacki and Belinda Bencic both posting straight-sets wins.
Denmark’s Wozniacki, seeded 15th, shook off an early break of service, rallying from 2-4 down in the opening set to win in 90 minutes.
Switzerland’s Bencic, seeded 11th, advanced with ease, dispatching Russian qualifier Anastasia Potapova 6-2, 6-1.
Meanwhile, Montreal Masters second seed Dominic Thiem remained confident on Monday that he is in position to win a first ATP match in Canada after five career defeats. And Thiem, winner of the claycourt title in Kitzbuehel on Saturday, will face a tough second-round opener against Canadian Denis Shapovalov, who powered past France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3, 7-5 in 90 minutes.
Shapovalov, who shocked Rafael Nadal in the third round two years ago on the way to a precocious semi-final appearance, reveled in his return to the scene of that victory.
The Austrian’s victory on home soil in Kitzbuehel was his third title of the season.
Canada’s Milos Raonic joined Shapovalov in the 2nd round with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Lucas Pouille.
Raonic fired 16 aces compared to two for Pouille.
Raonic will face another Canadian in the second round, either Vasek Pospisil or Felix Auger-Aliassime.
In other first-round action Monday, three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka rained down a dozen aces to hand Grigor Dimitrov a 14th loss this season, 6-4, 6-4. France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, still returning to form after knee surgery last season, fell 6-2, 6-2 to Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.
Adrian Mannarino earned a French win as he beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4, 6-4 and France’s Richard Gasquet made it through -- at the expense of compatriot Benoit Paire. Gasquet triumphed 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 in their all-French duel that saw Paire leap over the net at one point, unable to stop his forward momentum and ending up on his opponent’s side of the court.
Anett Kontaveit spoiled Maria Sharapova’s return from injury on Monday, rallying to beat the five-time Grand Slam champion 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 at the WTA tournament in Toronto
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Eighth seed Barty got off to a strong start and never looked back, winning 6-1, 6-3 after only 70 minutes to claim her maiden Grand Slam title.
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