Having no official match under her belt since Rome (back in May) due to a hip injury, Maria Sharapova resumed her season in Stanford (Premier event) at Bank of the West Classic tournament. Currently ranked as the world No. 171 she got acceptance in the main draw with a wild-card from the organizers.

Sharapova is competing in her fourth WTA event this season, and all of them were possible with a wild-card. In the opening round in Stanford, the former world No. 1 from Russia had to deal with the American Jennifer Brady (80 WTA). As expected, Sharapova had her fair share of mistakes, but she managed to cap the match in her favor.

In doing so, she needed three sets.

Sharapova and Brady had their first WTA level clash

With no shared history at all at any WTA level tournament, the match had Sharapova as a favorite despite the ranking gap and the recent lack of action from the Russian. The opening set was all about Sharapova who kept on hammering her opponent on the tennis court. The score board saw her racing past Brady and capturing the inaugural set by 6-1. It seemed that all would go down as a straight sets victory, but Brady had her own moment in the second act.

Breaking Sharapova's serve in the first game of the set was all that she needed to build up her own momentum. Despite leveling the score at 3-3, Sharapova went on losing the act by 6-4.

The third set pictured one of the reasons why Sharapova is one of the best despite her recent problems. She broke her opponent's serve in the second game of the set and then saved two break points on her own. From that point on it was clear who the winner will be. Eventually, the set went to the Russian's pocket by 6-0 capping Sharapova's successful comeback.

Sharapova shares draw with Keys and Muguruza

In order to improve her ranking status, Sharapova must win several matches in a row. Up next, she will face Lesia Tsurenko (32 WTA). In the quarterfinals, she may face Madison Keys ( the third seed) while the semis are set for a monumental clash against Garbine Muguruza, 2017 Wimbledon champion.

The final may bring Petra Kvitova on the other side of the net.

Playing her first tournament on the North American hardcourt since 2015, Sharapova has a lot on her plate. At 30 years of age, she must reach her peak fast if she hopes for at least one significant result this year. It's been more than two years since her last triumph in a WTA tournament. That moment occurred back in 2015 at Rome (Premier 5 event).