Indian Wells: Maria Sharapova crashes out early after losing to Naomi Osaka
By James Dielhenn
Last Updated: 08/03/18 5:25pm
Maria Sharapova was beaten in her first match at Indian Wells in three years, losing 6-4 6-4 to Naomi Osaka.
Five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova has slipped to No 41 in the WTA rankings, forcing her into a first-round match at Indian Wells, which she failed to progress through.
Sharapova's 2018 so far has been blighted by a third-round exit in the Australian Open to Angelique Kerber, and a first-round defeat in Doha to Monica Niculescu.
Her defeat to Osaka, the world No 44, is her second defeat in the opening round of a tournament in a month.
Sharapova's serve was broken five times by Osaka and she made six double-faults.
"I wanted to do well here and not just because I won this event a couple times," said 2006 and 2013 champion Sharapova. "I would have loved to stay longer it is just not going to happen this year."
The Russian won her first WTA title since returning from a doping ban last October.
Eugenie Bouchard suffered a shock defeat as American qualifier Sachia Vickery reached the second round with a 6-3 6-4 victory, and Switzerland's Belinda Bencic was forced to save match point as she saw off Hungarian Timea Babos in
There were also wins for Sofia Kenin, Aryna Sabalenka, Marketa Vondrousova, Petra Martic, Kaia Kanepi, Kristyna Pliskova, Maria Sakkari, Samantha Stosur, Irina-Camelia Begu, Qiang Wang, Yulia Putintseva, Amanda Anisimova and Caroline Dolehide.
You can watch the Masters 1000 from Indian Wells with coverage getting underway from 7pm on Sky Sports Action and via the red button on the same channel this Thursday. You can also watch it from 10.30pm on Sky Sports Main Event.
Tennis updates straight to your phone
How to receive all the latest tennis news straight to your mobile
Keep up to date with the latest on www.skysports.com/tennis with news, previews, live blogs, reports and expert analysis. On the move? Head to our app for mobile devices and iPad, or follow our Twitter account @SkySportsTennis to join in the conversation.