WTA Brisbane International: Maria Sharapova impresses on return from injury
Maria Sharapova made a pleasing return from injury at the Brisbane International as she swept past Caroline Garcia.
Last Updated: 30/12/13 1:40pm
The world No 4 had been sidelined for four months with a shoulder injury which had not seen her play competitively since August.
But she showed no signs of rustiness on her return as she thrashed her French opponent 6-3 6-0 on the Pat Rafter arena.
Sharapova raced out of the blocks and swept into a 3-0 lead, an advantage she maintained before closing out the opening set with a rasping forehand winner.
Things were even more one-sided in the second as the barrage of heavy groundstrokes from the Russian continued and she ultimately sealed victory in just 64 minutes.
A delighted Sharapova said afterwards: "I was pretty sick of the off-season and I was ready to get going. I missed the game, I wanted to come out here and really perform well and I tried to do that."
Chance to shine
The Russian has been forced to sit out the event through injury for the past two years and expressed her happiness at finally being able to perform in Queensland.
"It's been so long, I'm sorry! I've been meaning to play this event for so many years and I'm so happy it was this year after being away from the game for a few months."
Sharapova will next play home favourite Ashleigh Barty after the Australian teenager produced an impressive performance to defeat Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova 6-3 7-5.
Like Sharapova, German fifth seed Angelique Kerber - the beaten finalist at Wimbledon this year - also beat a French youngster in her first round clash, overcoming Kristina Mladenovic 6-2 6-2.
Elsewhere there were victories for Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Kaia Kanepi, Carla Suarez Navarro and Casey Dellacqua.