Former No. 1-ranked Maria Sharapova won her first tournament since returning from a 10-month injury layoff when Jelena Jankovic was forced to retire in the first set of the Toray Pan Pacific final.
Sharapova was leading 5-2 in Saturday’s final at Ariake Colosseum when the seventh-seeded Jankovic took a timeout to have her right arm examined by the trainer.
The Serbian player returned to the court and lost the first two points of the eighth game before retiring.
“It’s disappointing,” Sharapova said. “It’s toward the end of the year and there are a lot of injuries so I wish Jelena a speedy recovery.”
It was Sharapova’s first title since Amelia Island in April, 2008, although she has spent long periods of the tour in the interim.
Jankovic got off to a strong start, breaking Sharapova’s serve in the first game and taking a 2-0 lead. But Sharapova rallied and took control by winning four straight games.
“She started off so strong,” Sharapova said. “But it’s my second final of the year so I wanted to play strong. I played well all week so I felt I could give her a good match.”
Sharapova also reached the final in Toronto in August, losing to Olympic champion Elena Dementieva in the final.
Sharapova underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a rotator cuff in her right shoulder nearly a year ago and is still yet to refind the form that has earned her three Grand Slam singles titles.
“It’s exciting,” Sharapova said of Saturday’s win. “We put in so much work and to be able to go out and compete in front of thousands of fans is great. You realize what a gift it is to hit a tennis ball.”