Russian star is playing her first tournament since a 15-month suspension for doping and cruised through 6-3 6-4
MARIA SHARAPOVA has stormed into the semi-finals of the Stuttgart Open with a straight-sets victory over Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit.
The Russian star, 30, is playing her first tournament since a 15-month suspension for doping – after being caught taking banned substance meldonium.
Yet Sharapova continued her impressive form, simply dismantling her Estonian opponent 6-3 6-4.
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Sharapova broke twice in the first set and once in the second to breeze past Kontaveit in just under an hour-and-a-half.
On the win, Sharapova said: “I served quite well and held my serve which gave me confidence, so I’m happy.
“I kept myself in good shape, because once you lose it, it’s hard to get it back.”
Sharapova will now face Kristina Mladenovic in Saturday’s semi-final after she beat Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3 6-2.
By booking her place in the last-four, Sharapova has all but confirmed her spot in the top 300 in the world, with an expected ranking of 260.
Should the Russian make the final she could break into the top 200, while a win in Germany would bump her up to around No125.
However, not everyone has been happy to see Sharapova back on the court.
Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard called her a “cheater” earlier this week – following her win in Stuttgart against Roberta Vinca.
Tennis legend Boris Becker also urged Sharapova to stay humble… and grateful for her second chance.
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