Maria has started her 2019 grass court season with a win at the Mallorca Open in Mallorca, Spain.
In Maria’s first match in nearly five months after undergoing a small procedure on her right shoulder in February, Maria defeated world no.44 Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia 7-6 6-0 in an hour and 29 minutes to advance to the second round.
Maria started the match strongly as she held her serve to love in the first game and broke her opponent’s serve to lead 2-0. In the third game, Kuzmova immediately got the break back to get the set back on serve. There were two more breaks of serve towards the end of the set as the set was decided by a tie-break which Maria eventually won 10-8 on her first set point after saving two set points. The set took 65 minutes and Maria won the set when the Slovak netted a forehand.
The momentum Maria took from winning the first set continued into the second set as she won six straight games to book her spot in the second round.
In the second round to be played on Thursday, Maria will play top seed Angelique Kerber of Germany. Maria has played the 31-year-old eight times before and the series is tied 4-4. Here are the matches they have played against each other:
2012 Australian Open R3: Maria won 6-1 6-2
2012 Paris QF: Kerber won 6-4 6-4
2012 Rome SF: Maria won 6-3 6-4
2012 Beijing QF: Maria won 6-0 3-0 ret.
2013 Stuttgart SF: Maria won 6-3 2-6 7-5
2014 Wimbledon R4: Kerber won 7-6 4-6 6-4
2015 Stuttgart R2: Kerber won 2-6 7-5 6-1
2018 Australian Open R3: Kerber won 6-1 6-3