INDIAN WELLS: Five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova suffered a shock defeat on Wednesday to Japanese No. 1 Naomi Osaka, losing her opening match at the WTA Indian Wells tournament 6-4, 6-4.
The former world number one, and twice a winner in the California desert, Sharapova was one of the tournament’s major attractions after missing the last two events.
Sharapova made six double faults, won just 25 percent of her second serve points and had her serve broken five times.
The 20-year-old Osaka won 75 percent of her first-serve points as she needed 95 minutes to win the only night session match.
For Sharapova this loss is another reminder that it’s back to the drawing board for the Russian as she makes her way back from a 15-month drugs ban.
This is her second first round loss in a row after she withdrew from the Dubai tournament with a forearm injury.
In her only Grand Slam appearance this year, Sharapova reached the third round of the Australian Open before losing to Angelique Kerber. —AFP