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Sharapova returns to WTA Tour in doubles loss

MARIA Sharapova made her first competitive appearance for seven months yesterday, losing a doubles match yesterday at the BNP Paribas Open.

The former world's No. 1 teamed with Russian compatriot Elena Vesnina and they were beaten 6-2, 4-6, 10-7 by Ekaterina Makarova and Tatiana Poutchek.

Sharapova was forced off the WTA Tour last August by a torn rotator cuff and underwent surgery on her right shoulder two months later.

"It feels very good to be back," the 24-year-old said. "I just wanted to test (the shoulder) out. I started training a couple of months ago. I just wanted to ... test it out in a match situation and get a little different scenery than the practice court and play in front of the crowd, so that was exciting. The main goal for here was just to get out there and be in that atmosphere again.

"The hump I've got to get through right now is to put together two weeks of coming out to the court and playing two or three sets every day, and doing that for seven or eight days in a row. ... Right now I'm able to do maybe three days or four days and then I have to take it easy on the fifth."

Sharapova was unsure where or when she would play next.

"I'm done with setting a timetable for myself. Those days are over," she said.


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