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Sharapova poised for Indian Wells return

  • Story Highlights
  • Maria Sharapova returns to competitive action after six months injury absence
  • Russian former world No. 1 will play doubles at this week's Indian Wells event
  • Sharapova had problems with a shoulder injury that ended her 2008 campaign
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(CNN) -- Russian former world number one Maria Sharapova will return to competitive action after a six-month injury absence in this week's tournament at Indian Wells.

Feel the pain: Sharapova has treatment on a shoulder injury that sidelined the Russian star for six months.

Feel the pain: Sharapova has treatment on a shoulder injury that sidelined the Russian star for six months.

Sharapova, 22 next month, will play doubles alongside compatriot Elena Vesnina after recovering from an acute shoulder problem that had troubled her for a couple of years.

"I am excited to be playing competitive tennis again," Sharapova said on her Web site. "The healing process takes time and requires things to move more slowly than I would like, but I am taking things one step at a time."

Sharapova missed the 2008 US Open, Beijing Olympics and this year's Australian Open while her world ranking has fallen to 23rd.

The three-time Grand Slam champion -- she has won at Flushing Meadows, Wimbledon and Melbourne -- had hoped to return earlier this year.

She missed her title defense in Australia, but later withdrew from the Paris Open and Dubai Open to give herself more time for a full recovery.

It will be the first time in four years that Florida-based Sharapova has played a doubles event and the first time she has played with Vesnina as she feels her way back.

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