Return for Sharapova cut short at Cincinnati

MASON, Ohio — Maria Sharapova's return to WTA tournament play after more than a month away was short-lived following an upset loss to 17th-ranked American Sloane Stephens 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the second round of the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday.

In a match that lasted 2 hours, 22 minutes, Stephens overcame losing the first set and the first two games of the second and double faults on two match points to pick up her first victory over Sharapova in four meetings.

Sharapova, the 2011 W&S champion and a 2010 finalist, showed no traces of the hip injury that had kept her sidelined since a second-round loss at Wimbledon.

Jimmy Connors, who won the tournament 41 years ago, watched from the stands in his first match as Sharapova's coach. She hired Connors, the 1972 champion and a 1986 finalist, in mid-July.

Fourteenth-seeded Jelena Jankovic, the 2009 champion and 2011 runner-up, advanced to the second round with a 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-2 win over Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisiski.

Defending men's champion and fifth-seeded Roger Federer advanced to the third round with a 6-3, 7-6 (7) win over 29th-ranked Philipp Kohlschreiber.

In earlier action, second-ranked Victoria Azarenka held off an upset bid by qualifier Vania King to pull out a 6-1, 7-6 (6) win and advance to the third round. Azarenka rallied from a 3-0 hole in the second set to force the tiebreaker against the 140th-ranked American.

John Isner defeated Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-4, and Grigor Dimitrov defeated Brian Baker 6-3, 6-2. Third-seeded David Ferrer edged 102nd-ranked American Ryan Harrison 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-4.


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