Maria Sharpova won on her return from a 15-month doping ban
Sharapova recovered from losing her first service game to win 7-5 6-3 on her return from the 15-month ban against Roberta Vinci in the first round of the Stuttgart Open.
The former world No.1 has been out since March last year after testing positive for meldonium.
But she was back on court today and recorded a win to set up a second round match with fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova.
"It's the best feeling in the world, those first few moments before you enter the arena," she said.
Maria Sharapova beat Robert Vinci in the first round of the Stuttgart Open 7-5 6-3 Maria Sharapova’s return to tennis: Controversial star makes comeback from drug ban Wed, April 26, 2017
Maria Sharapova makes her return to tennis at the STuttgart Open after serving a 15-month doping ban
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Maria Sharapova has made her return to tennis after a 15-month drug ban
"It's been a stage of mine since I was a young girl and to know I'd be walking back on it was something special and I've been waiting for this for a long time.
"I didn't know when I'd be back and I did other things in my life. I still kept in shape but I did put the racket away for a while.
"It was quite a lot of time out, probably the most since I had shoulder surgery. It's my first match in a while and you try to get the rhythm again because you're still rusty but when you're in the moment you try to block everything out and compete, and I'm a competitor. That's when I'm at my best, when I just be me and compete.
"I need to play points and games and sets and matches – all matches are important for me. It's a journey that officially started for me again today and I look forward to playing as many matches as I can.
"I feel like in the last 15 months I have really grown as a person and I feel I had to step up and do that."
Maria Sharpova was back on the court today after 15 months out
Not all of her peers have welcomed her return but Sharapova received a good reception when she was introduced to the crowd and subsequently walked out on court alongside her opponent in Germany.
It took the 30-year-old time to get into her stride but generally it looked like the same old Sharapova, with relentless aggression and heavy hitting off both the forehand and backhand sides.
Vinci, a finalist at the 2015 US Open, won the toss and chose to serve and she made a solid start, taking the opening game with the loss of just one point before breaking Sharapova's first service game.
However, Sharapova broke back immediately. She needed five break points during a game lasting more than 10 minutes and displayed signs that she was now getting her eye in by hitting a string of big winners.
Sharapova had another break point in the seventh game but Vinci battled to hold her serve before the Russian levelled things up at 4-4 with her second service game to love.
By contrast, Vinci had been taken to deuce in every service game since her opener and the inevitable break eventually came to earn Sharapova a 6-5 lead and she then served it out – taking it on her second set point.
Sharapova started the second set with another break of serve, winning her fourth game in a row, and the signs were looking ominous for Vinci, although she did manage three break points against the Sharapova serve in the next game – but could take none of them.
Vinci ended her barren run with a hold of serve and did so again in her next service game to remain on the coat-tails of Sharapova at 4-3.
However, after Sharapova had easily held her serve again, the Italian was broken to love and the former world number one will now play Makarova in the second round.