Every point mattered for Maria Sharapova in her competitive comeback from injury, even in a first-round match in the season-opening tournament. Sharapova beat 74th-ranked Caroline Garcia of France 6-3, 6-0 Monday, ripping forehand winners and nullifying her rival’s biggest weapon with consistently aggressive service returns. It was a big step to come and a big step to play out there tonight,” Sharapova said, adding that she was pain-free and feeling good. No matter the opponent or the situation, you know, they’re really priceless for me at this point, and extremely important.” The third-seeded Sharapova hit 26 winners and kept the unforced errors to 10, hitting six aces and only one double-fault – immediately after a backhand winner down the line had given her triple match point.

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