By beating Ekaterina Makarova today, Russian continues her successful return to tennis after 15-month ban for doping
MARIA SHARAPOVA won again in Stuttgart again to move into the quarter-finals… and is ALREADY inside the world’s top 400 players.
By beating Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets today 7-5 6-1, the Russian continued her successful return to tennis after 15-month ban for doping.
Sharapova made it two wins out of two following her return from taking banned substance meldonium.
The five-time Grand Slam winner dominated fellow Russian Makarova, who is ranked 43 in the world – brushing her aside in just one hour, 20 minutes after beating Roberta Vinci in the first round yesterday.
Afterwards, she said: “Practice and playing are so different and you can only prepare the best you can.
“The reaction and anticipation you need are so hard to replicate in training and these are the things I need.”
The 30-year-old Russian now faces Estonian Anett Kontaveit in the quarter final – and by moving into the last eight in Germany, she has already moved inside the world’s top 400 ranked players.
She came into Stuttgart as a wildcard, having not had a world ranking before due to her points expiring during her suspension and.
Sharapova will find out in May whether she will get a wildcard into the French Open qualifiers – and will only get qualify for Wimbledon automatically if she is inside the top 104 by then.
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According to Twitter account WTA Insider, she is currently ranked around 375 by making the quarters – and will move up to approximately 260 if she gets to the semis.
A final appearance will move her to 180th, and winning the Stuttgart tournament for a fourth time would see Sharapova move to within just 25 places of the world’s top 100.
This is despite being branded a “cheater” by fellow pro Eugenie Bouchard, the latest rival to rain on her comeback parade.
Former Wimbledon finalist Bouchard let rip, saying: “She’s a cheater and so, to me, I don’t think a cheater in any sport should be allowed to play that sport again.
“Unfair to all these players who do it the right way and are true.
“I think from the [Women’s Tennis Association] it sends the wrong message to young kids: ‘Cheat and we’ll welcome you back with open arms.’
“I don’t think that’s right and (she’s) definitely not someone I can say I look up to anymore because it’s definitely ruined it for me a little bit.”