LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Brisbane, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) - Playing her first WTA match in over four months, Maria Sharapova returned a winner Monday at the 2014 season- opening Brisbane International tennis event, a hardcourt Australian Open tune- up.

The third-seeded former world No. 1 star blew past France's Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-0 at Queensland Tennis Centre.

Sharapova was appearing in only her second match in six months following a bout with shoulder and hip problems and is also working with a new coach in Sven Groeneveld.

"I think I was just really determined to get back on the court," Sharapova said. "It's been a while. I think the whole team was really ready to go out. I knew I was going to play Monday night a little bit ago already. I got goosebumps when I heard because I was looking forward to today even a week ago.

"It's those days you work for. It was a big step to come and a big step to play out there tonight."

Sharapova's second-round opponent will be Aussie Ashleigh Barty on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, fourth-seeded former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic beat former French Open champ Francesca Schiavone 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) and fifth-seeded German Angelique Kerber drubbed France's Kristina Mladenovic 6-2, 6-2.

In other action Day 2 action involving seeds, No. 8 Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain spanked Taiwan's Su-Wei Hsieh 6-2, 6-1 and No. 9 Slovak Dominika Cibulkova dismissed Brit Heather Watson 6-4, 6-3.

Also winning on Monday were Aussies Barty and Casey Dellacqua, Estonian and 2012 Brisbane champion Kaia Kanepi, and Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who was last year's runner-up here to the great Serena Williams.

This week's top seeds are the reigning champion Williams and 2009 titlist and 2008 runner-up Victoria Azarenka. The world No. 1 Williams will open her 2014 season against German Andrea Petkovic on Tuesday, while the reigning Aussie Open titlist Azarenka will encounter Dellacqua on Wednesday.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://on.wusa9.com/1erB3mr