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MOSCOW, October 11. /TASS/. Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova boosted off at a tennis tournament in China’s Tianjin on Wednesday with a confident straight sets victory over 9-seed Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania.
In the tournament’s first round match, which lasted for one hour and 22 minutes, wildcard-invited Sharapova defeated Degu 6-4; 6-2.
Singles matches were postponed in Tianjin on Tuesday due to heavy rainfalls and had been rescheduled for Wednesday.
"It's been a long wait for everyone, it hasn't been easy," the Women Tennis Association (WTA) official website quoted Sharapova as saying after her victory. "I had a first practice outdoors, and then I think it rained for 70 hours straight, unfortunately for the players."
"The good thing about this tournament is it has indoors, it's pretty state-of-the-art, and I trained at the National Tennis Centre as well, which was very impressive," she said. "So I was still able to maintain good practice sessions."
The Russian tennis player is set to encounter in the next round Poland’s Magda Linette, who managed to outlast in the first round Ukraine’s Kateryna Bondarenko 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Although the annual WTA Tianjin Open is held for the fourth time, this year’s competition was a debut appearance at the tournament for Sharapova.
"It's always nice to visit a new place and play in a new stadium," Sharapova said after her first round match. "I enjoy the intimacy, I think it's a nice change."
"As a professional tennis player, you play most of the time playing in big arenas, and these smaller venues are very intimate and it's a really good feeling," she added.
The WTA Tianjin Open tennis tournament in China puts $426,750 in prize money up for grabs and the organizers of the tennis competition in China, held between October 9 and 15, granted Sharapova a wildcard to enter the tournament.
Sharapova is Russia’s most famous tennis player having won a total of five Grand Slam tournaments, namely the Australian Open in 2008, the French Open in 2012 and 2014, Wimbledon in 2004 and the US Open in 2006.
She also clinched the silver in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and was the 2008 Federations Cup champion.
China Open Round 1
After a 15-month long suspension for violating anti-doping regulations, Sharapova made her comeback to tennis in April at Stuttgart, where she stormed into the semifinals round of the tournament.
At the 2017 China Open, which closed last Sunday in Beijing, Sharapova lost in the third round stage and failed to advance further to the quarterfinals.