Maria Sharapova recovered from a shaky opening to defeat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia 4-6 6-4 6-0 in the first round of the Madrid Open, getting off to a good start in her second tournament since returning from a doping ban.

Sharapova took control of the match after struggling early against the 20th-ranked Lucic-Baroni, cruising to victory in the final set after more than two hours on court.

Sharapova had 16 winners and only 10 unforced errors in her opening-round victory, her fourth since a controversial return to tennis.

The Russian was broken three times in the first set, but only once the rest of the match at the claycourt tournament.


Sharapova said it was "extremely important" to get the opening-round victory.