Sharapova stunned by Stephens
Sloane Stephens produced a major shock by dumping Maria Sharapova out of the Western and Southern Open with a 2-6 7-6 (7/5) 6-3 win.
The third seed, playing her first match since Wimbledon following a hip injury picked up in SW19, appeared to be cruising to victory when she took the first set 6-2 and went a break up in the second.
But the 20-year-old American fought her way back to take the second set on a tie-break, then took advantage of some Sharapova errors in difficult conditions to seal her place in the third round, where she will face Jelena Jankovic or Ekaterina Makarova, who both won their first-round matches on Tuesday.
Sharapova said on the official WTA website: "Well, I thought I started the match off pretty well, but when you put yourself in a really good position you can't let it go - that's what I did tonight.
"I didn't continue what I was doing well for the first set and a half, and that hurt me. I stopped being patient. I started making a lot more errors, especially off the first ball. Just errors I shouldn't make. Obviously I haven't played in a long time, but I've got to be ready from the first match. So it's disappointing, but that's how it goes in this game."
The match was also Sharapova's first under new coach Jimmy Connors.
He used a golf analogy on Twitter to describe the star the pair had made.
"Every good round starts with a bogey," he wrote. "Not the start we wanted, so back to work tomorrow."
Sharapova will certainly need to work hard in a bid to improve her game in time for the US Open which starts on August 26.
That is her next scheduled engagement, although with a lack of match practice she may chase a wild card for next week's final warm-up event in New Haven.
Meanwhile, second seed Victoria Azarenka avoided an upset as she held off American qualifier Vania King for a 6-1 7-6 (8/6) win in her second-round match.
There were mixed fortunes for two former world number ones, Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic, in first-round play.
Tenth seed Wozniacki eased to a 6-1 6-1 win over China's Peng Shuai, but 15th seed Ivanovic was upset but France's Alize Cornet, who claimed a 2-6 7-6 (10/8) 6-4 victory.
Kirsten Flipkens, seeded 13th, was beaten 3-6 6-1 6-3 by Elena Vesnina of Russia.
Americans Varvara Lepchenko and Jamie Hampton beat Flavia Pennetta and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova respectively, while Mona Barthel, Andrea Petkovic and Magdalena Rybarikova were also among the first-round winners.