Maria Sharapova won the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo this weekend. It’s her first title since coming back from shoulder surgery this May, after a nearly ten month long injury layoff. Her last title came at Amelia Island in April, 2008.
It was her opponent, Jelena Jankovic, who suffered from shoulder problems, retiring at 2-5 down in the first set.
“It’s never easy to win a match like this.“ Sharapova said afterwards. “Obviously, it’s very important for Jelena to be healthy and we want to compete at our 100%.” (via BBC)
At this point in the year, Maria may be benefiting from having had a shorter season than the other pros. But regardless of how she won it, getting this title is a comeback confidence booster. (Not a Clijsters-sized boost, of course, but at least the trophy’s nice.)
And Maria still has enough gas in the tank to take part in the inaugural “Maria Sharapova South American Tour,” a series of three exhibition matches vs. Gisela Dulko, scheduled for late November/early December in Brazil, Chile and Argentina. She will reportedly make close to a million dollars in appearance fees. (via Tennis Week)