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Sharapova returns to competition hours after doping ban expires

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By Atack Patrick
Sharapova returns to competition hours after doping ban expires

<p>Maria Sharapova is set to return from a 15-month suspension at the Stuttgart Grand Prix on Wednesday. </p> <p>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. </p> <p>The Russian has been given a Wildcard slot, and will face world number 35, Italian Roberta Vinci.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Sharapova has played Roberta Vinci twice before – the Italian won four games in total over the 2 matches.</p>— Mike Dickson (@Mike_Dickson_DM) <a href="https://twitter.com/Mike_Dickson_DM/status/855800716526587904">April 22, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>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. </p> <p>If Sharapova wins, a tense second round is on the cards. </p> <p>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. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">With her return days away, Sharapova’s agent Max Eisenbud decided to break his silence after these comments from Radwanska. Here he goes: <a href="https://t.co/WXUVxooeK5">pic.twitter.com/WXUVxooeK5</a></p>— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) <a href="https://twitter.com/BenRothenberg/status/855519604013223941">April 21, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>After Stuttgart, it will be decided if the Russian will receive an invite to Rolland Garos. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Sharapova is back. Happy <a href="https://t.co/M2duy2q4YN">pic.twitter.com/M2duy2q4YN</a></p>— Stephane Celerier (@stephanecel) <a href="https://twitter.com/stephanecel/status/855745626176466944">April 22, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>