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Summary

  1. Sharapova returns after 15-month doping ban
  2. The Russian has not played since 2016 Australian Open
  3. First round of event in Stuttgart
  4. Britain's Johanna Konta already through
  5. * denotes next to serve

Live Reporting

By Stephan Shemilt

All times stated are UK

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  1. Post update

    But that's us done for now. There's plenty of football for you this evening - follow the Premier League action here.

    Bye for now.

  2. Post update

    So Sharapova announces her return with a pretty convincing victory. She plays Ekaterina Makarova in round two tomorrow.

  3. Post update

    Maria Sharapova, speaking on court: "It's the best feeling in the world, those first few seconds before you enter the arena. To know you were walking back out there was special. I've been waiting for this for a long time.

    "I spent a long time without hitting any balls. I didn't know when I would be back. I went to school for a little bit, I grew my business and had a normal life. I put the racquet away for a little bit.

    "I felt I had to grow as a person and I think I've done that.

    "This is what I've done for so long. I'm a competitor, that's when I'm at my best."

  4. Game, set and match Sharapova

    Vinci 5-7 3-6 Sharapova

    She's back.

    Maria Sharapova announces her return with a straight-sets victory over Roberta Vinci. She rushes to the centre of the court, waving and blowing kisses to the crowd.

    Cat, meet pigeons.

  5. Post update

    *Vinci 5-7 3-5 Sharapova

    Three match points...

  6. Post update

    *Vinci 5-7 3-5 Sharapova

    Sharapova feels it. Awesome forehand, then Vinci long. 0-30. Crowd clap with expectation.

  7. Post update

    *Vinci 5-7 3-5 Sharapova

    Sharapova has nudged the ace count into double figures. After a rusty start, the serve looks well-oiled. Vinci, short of stature in purple at the far end, wipes her face with resignation. She must serve to stay in the match.

  8. Post update

    Vinci 5-7 3-4 Sharapova*

    Sharapova has won this title three times and is now warming to the task of setting on course for a comeback fourth. The forehand remains mercurial, but once more the pressure in on Vinci. 30-30. Italian forehand out by the width of a matchstick. 40-40. Vinci ekes through, but her sand is fast running through the egg-timer.

  9. Post update

    *Vinci 5-7 2-4 Sharapova

    Sharapova at the far end, peach and grey, trainers smattered with red dust. Points against serve are an endangered species here, only given away by a double fault. Hold to 15. Even the car in the corner knows which way this one is heading.

  10. Post update

    Vinci 5-7 2-3 Sharapova*

    It's all gone a little flat, as if the decisive action of the match has already taken place. Even the crowd are subdued, temporarily awoken when Sharapova clobbers a backhand down the line. Still, it's Vinci's most comfortable hold for some time.

  11. Post update

    *Vinci 5-7 1-3 Sharapova

    Sharapova is taking advantage of the indoor pace and the slippery surface to batter down two more aces. She's speeding towards the finish line and improving as she goes. Vinci needs a rabbit from the hat pretty soon.

  12. Post update

    Vinci 5-7 1-2 Sharapova*

    For some reason, the experienced Vinci has not learned that allowing Sharapova to free her arms is as sensible as tickling a crocodile. Despite that, she muddles through to win her first game six, putting away a volley befitting the former doubles world number one. Clinging on.   

  13. Post update

    *Vinci 5-7 0-2 Sharapova

    At long last, Sharapova consolidates that break. Vinci had three break-back points but squandered them all. The journey back gets longer...

  14. Post update

    Vinci 5-7 0-1 Sharapova*

    This is scrappy, ugly. A Sharapova backhand into the net. Another break point, only for the Russian to boom down a saving ace. This game is ageing us all.

  15. Post update

    Vinci 5-7 0-1 Sharapova*

    The Sharapova serve has gone missing, presumably wandering around the beer tents of Stuttgart. Luckily for her, Vinci isn't taking advantage. Deuce. At least four in this game so far...

  16. Post update

    Vinci 5-7 0-1 Sharapova*

    Now then. Geometry-defying return from Vinci. Break-back point...

  17. Post update

    Vinci 5-7 0-1 Sharapova*

    The applause has died down. That might not be because the crowd are against Sharapova, but because they know she is cutting the amount of tennis they are going to see. The serve bombs down, mixed with enough errors to keep a scampering Vinci in ti. 40-40...

  18. Sharapova breaks

    Vinci 5-7 0-1 Sharapova*

    There is a sense of inevitability about this one. Sharapova has won four games in a row and is pulling away.

  19. Post update

    *Vinci 5-7 0-0 Sharapova

    Saved, but giving feeding the Russian forehand again. Has Vinci not been watching the first set. No width. Bowl at the stumps. Another chance for the five-time Slam winner...

  20. Post update

    *Vinci 5-7 0-0 Sharapova

    When Sharapova has the ball in her wheel house, she unleashes some crackerjack forehands. Vinci is really feeling the heat on the red dirt. Break point...