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Sharapova and Henin crash out in Madrid

Sharapova showed plenty of effort on her return but came up short in Madrid.
Sharapova showed plenty of effort on her return but came up short in Madrid.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Maria Sharapova loses opening match at the Madrid Masters to Lucie Safarova
  • Sharapova playing first match on WTA Tour since Indian Wells in March
  • Justine Henin also goes out in a three-set defeat to Aravane Rezai of France

(CNN) -- Maria Sharapova's return to the WTA circuit after injury ended with a straight sets defeat to Czech Lucie Safarova in Madrid while former world number one Justine Henin also made an early exit on Sunday.

Sharapova had not played since losing to China's Zheng Jie at Indian Wells and her lack of match practice after an elbow injury showed in a 6-4 6-3 defeat at Caja Magica.

Belgian ace Henin crashed out to Aravane Rezai, losing eight straight games to fall to a 4-6 7-5 6-0 defeat.

"I wasn't feeling my best today. I was ill after Stuttgart. I didn't have the energy I needed," Henin told the official WTA Web site.

"Aravane was playing at a very good level though. It wasn't an easy day for me. I really wanted to win this tournament."

11th seed Sharapova won the title in Memphis earlier this season, her first since returning from a nine month layoff with a shoulder injury.

But her service was broken four times by Safarova, who has been in fine form on clay this season with quarterfinal appearances at Stuttgart and Rome.

"It's about believing in yourself," Safarova told AFP.

You get your confidence when you win against top players, as I have the last few months
--Lucie Safarova
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"You get your confidence when you win against top players, as I have the last few months," she added.

The Madrid Masters is the last major warm-up tournament ahead of the second grand slam of the season at the French Open and has attracted a strong field including world number one Serena Williams.

But Svetlana Kuznetsova's preparations for the defense of her title at Roland Garrps, suffered another setback as she was beaten by unseeded Shahar Peer of Israel on Saturday.

Fifth seed Kuznetsova, who went out in the early rounds in both Stuttgart and Rome, continued her patchy form with a 6-3 2-6 6-0 defeat.

"Sveta is a great player, especially on clay. But anyone you play here is going to be tough," Peer told the official WTA Tour Web site after her fine victory.