Maria Sharapova is proving that not only is her shoulder fit to fight, her game has come back too.
Last year the former world number one underwent arthroscopic surgery on her serving shoulder and spent three months without touching a racquet, a sobering time she said allowed her to gain some perspective.
Just Wednesday, Maria Sharapova found herself in a genuine battle for survival against a tough opponent in the second round at the French Open and came through with the shoulder in one piece (still bandaged) and another victory to boost her confidence.
The score against Nadia Petrova, a former world No. 3, was 6-2, 1-6, 8-6 and Sharapova had to battle back from 4-2 down in the final set.
“I think it was a great match where I had to fight my way through many, many challenges and I did,” Sharapova said. “I thought I served well. It was actually one of the things I did best in the match. It was important to get a high percentage of first serves, to take control of the points. Nadia is a very aggressive player and she likes to get you on the run.”
“I kind of started stumbling away. Things went in the wrong direction,” said Sharapova, “I was just glad I could pick myself up and keep fighting.”
That Sharapova did: 5x, Petrova was one point away from serving for the match. But Sharapova didn’t allow her to convert those chances. “She really showed, even though she has been out for a while, she’s willing to compete till the end,” Petrova acknowledged.
“It was a great match and I had to fight really hard. I’m learning new things about myself and I’m glad I picked myself up and proved I could win when it got tough.”