MOSCOW, December 28 (R-Sport) – World No. 4 Maria Sharapova will face France’s Caroline Garcia in her competitive return to tennis following a shoulder injury, after the draw was made for the season-opening Brisbane International said Saturday.
The Russian star has played only one competitive match, a defeat in Cincinnati in August, since she suffered her injury in a shock Wimbledon second-round exit to then-world No. 131 Michelle Larcher de Brito.
Third seed Sharapova has encountered her first-round opponent Garcia, ranked 74th in the world, twice and beat her both times.
This will be also Sharapova’s first game with Dutch coach Sven Groeneveld, who she hired last month.
Brisbane is a warm-up event for January 13-26 Australian Open, and that status has attracted players like world No. 1 Serena Williams and second-ranked Victoria Azarenka in the draw.
The men’s field at Brisbane will be led by world No. 6 Roger Federer.
The Brisbane International carries a $1 million prize fund for the women’s event and $436,630 for the men.