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Sharapova returns to competition hours after doping ban expires


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Sharapova returns to competition hours after doping ban expires

Maria Sharapova is set to return from a 15-month suspension at the Stuttgart Grand Prix on Wednesday.

The date is key, as Sharapova’s ban only expires at Midnight on Tuesday. Sharapova failed a drug test for meldnium during the 2016 Australian Open.

The Russian has been given a Wildcard slot, and will face world number 35, Italian Roberta Vinci.

It’s seen as an kind draw for Sharapova’s return… Vinci last won a game in March when she progressed to the second round at Indian Wells.

If Sharapova wins, a tense second round is on the cards.

Agnieska Radwanska is among those to criticise Sharapova’s inclusion, and if she can overcome Ekaterina Makarova, the two will meet in the second round.

After Stuttgart, it will be decided if the Russian will receive an invite to Rolland Garos.

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