CARLSBAD, Calif. — The San Diego Aviators will face Maria Sharapova and the Orange County Breakers Monday evening in a World TeamTennis match at Breakers Stadium at Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach.
Sharapova is set to play for the Breakers for a second and final time in 2017 as she attempts to return to from a thigh injury that has kept her out of tournament tennis since May 16 when she was forced to retire from her second-round match in the Rome Open as she was leading Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 4- 6, 6-3, 2-1.
Sharapova, who had five stints as the No. 1 player on the Women’s Tennis AssociatiMaria Sharapovaon singles rankings, most recently in 2012, split two sets in the Breakers 17-14 loss to the Aviators July 16 at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad in the season opener for both teams. It was the first time she played since May 16.
Sharapova first played women’s doubles, teaming with Andreja Klepac for a 5-1 victory over Darija Jurak and Shelby Rogers. Sharapova lost to Rogers, 5- 3, in women’s singles.
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.
On Sunday, Raven Klaasen helped the Aviators to victories in the final two sets to break a tie in a 21-16 victory over the New York Empire at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa.
The score was tied 11-11 after two sets. Klaasen teamed with Mark Philippoussis for a 5-3 victory over Neal Skupski and Marcus Willis in men’s doubles, the fourth set, and with Darija Jurak for a 5-2 victory over Willis and Kirsten Flipkens in the final set, mixed doubles.
“We are playing so good,” Jurak said after Aviators improved to 4-2, sharing the lead in the six-team league with the Philadelphia Freedoms. Both teams have eight matches to play. “Our team is rising with confidence. It’s looking good for us at the moment.”
Playing before a crowd that included International Tennis Hall of Fame members Jimmy Connors and Rod Laver, Jurak and Shelby Rogers opened the match with a 5-4 victory over Flipkens and Maria Sanchez in women’s doubles.
Rogers defeated Flipkens, 5-2, in women’s singles, increasing the Aviators lead to 10-6.
The Empire (3-4) tied the match with Willis’ 5-1 victory over the 40- year-old Philippoussis, who reached the men’s singles final in the 1998 U.S. Open and in 2003 at Wimbledon.