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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 November 2018

Maria Sharapova and Eugenie Bouchard both lose in first round at Indian Wells

Five-time major winner Sharapova loses in straight sets to Naomi Osaka at the WTA Masters 1000 event in the United States.

Maria Sharapova lost to Naomi Osaka in the first round at Indian Wells. Jayne Kamin-Oncea / USA Today Sports
Maria Sharapova lost to Naomi Osaka in the first round at Indian Wells. Jayne Kamin-Oncea / USA Today Sports

Five-time grand slam winner Maria Sharapova suffered a shock defeat on Wednesday to Japanese No 1 Naomi Osaka, losing her opening match at the WTA Indian Wells tournament 6-4, 6-4.

The former world No 1, and twice a winner in the California desert, Sharapova was one of the tournament's leading names after missing the last two events.

"I wanted to do well here and not just because I won this event a couple times," Sharapova said in a news conference. "I would have loved to stay longer it is just not going to happen this year."

Sharapova made six double faults, won just 25 per cent of her second serve points and had her serve broken five times.

The 20-year-old Osaka won 75 per cent of her first-serve points as she needed 95 minutes to win the only night session match.

For Sharapova this loss is another reminder that it's back to the drawing board for the Russian as she makes her way back from a 15-month drugs ban.

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This is her second first round loss in a row after she withdrew from the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships last month with a forearm injury.

Meanwhile, Eugenie Bouchard suffered a shock defeat as American qualifier Sachia Vickery reached the second round with a 6-3, 6-4 victory, and Switzerland's Belinda Bencic was forced to save match point as she saw off Hungarian Timea Babos in three sets.

Bencic fought back after dropping the first set 6-1 to seal the win 6-1, 7-6 after a marathon two hours and 23 minutes, setting up a second-round match against reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.