Photo via Pixabay

Updated at 11 a.m. July 17, 2017

The defending World TeamTennis champion San Diego Aviators won the final three sets, including Shelby Rogers defeating Maria Sharapova in women’s singles, for a 17-14 victory over the Orange County Breakers Sunday at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in the season opener for both teams.

Sharapova, who had five stints as the No. 1 player on the Women’s Tennis Association singles rankings, most recently in 2012, was playing for the first time since May 16, when a thigh injury forced her to retire from her second-round match in the Rome Open she was leading Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 4-6, 6- 3, 2-1.

Sharapova first played women’s doubles, teaming with Andreja Klepac for a 5-1 victory over Darija Jurak and Rogers that increased the Breakers lead to 10-2. Klepac and Ken Skupski defeated Jurak and Raven Klaasen, 5-1, in the opening set, mixed doubles.

The Aviators began their comeback when Ryan Harrison and Klaasen defeated Teymuraz Gabashvili and Skupski, 5-1, in men’s doubles, cutting the deficit to 11-7. Rogers defeated Sharapova, 5-3.

Harrison, the league’s 2016 male MVP, defeated Gabashvili, 5-0, the 2015 male MVP, in men’s singles.

World TeamTennis matches consist of one set each of men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles, with the team winning the most games winning the match.

Sharapova was suspended Jan. 26, 2016, by the International Tennis Federation for an anti-doping rule violation. She regained her eligibility to play on April 26.

Sharapova reached the semifinals of her first tournament following her suspension, the $719,000 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, then lost in the second round of both her tournaments since then.

— City News Service