Maria Sharapova returned to the court after a near five-month shoulder injury layoff. The five-time Grand Slam champion was given a wild card into Mallorca and faced Viktoria Kuzmova in her opening round. It seemed as if the Russian never left the court with her powerful baseline game intact, but it was another shot that impressed the Mallorca crowd.
At 5-6 in the first set Sharapova was pulled wide by Kuzmova's blazing backhand that sent Sharapova running. Even though she was off the court Sharapova hit a perfectly disguised drop shot and with Kuzmova on her heels she couldn't reach it in time. In such a critical point in the match, Sharapova's hot shot helped her break serve and even up the match.
Sharapova would go on to capture the first set and dominate the remainder of the match, ousting Kuzmova 7-6(8), 6-0. The 2004 Wimbledon champion will clash with the reigning Wimbledon winner, Angelique Kerber. This will be their ninth meeting, with their head-to-head record split at four wins apiece.