Mladenovic halts Sharapova's controversial comeback run at Stuttgart

Mladenovic halts Sharapova's controversial comeback run at Stuttgart

Mladenovic halts Sharapova's controversial comeback run at Stuttgart

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova's comeback on the tennis court after 15-months of doping ban was halted as she lost in the semi-finals of the Stuttgart Open on Saturday.

Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam winner, fell to one of her biggest critic Kristina Mladenovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. Mladenovic will now face Laura Siegemund in Sunday's final.

"I'm not angry, I'd have loved to have used the opportunity when I was ahead in the second set, so I had a bit of a let-down which allowed her to get back in the match, gain confidence and play well," Sport24 quoted Sharapova as saying.

The Russian, however, refused to blame a lack of fitness for her defeat and said she was happy with the way she has made a comeback to the tennis court. "If at the start of the week I'd said I'd be in this position, I'd be pretty happy with that," she said.

"The way I played, I was really happy with that. You are never sure what level you are going to come onto the court with, but I feel this is a great base with which I started here," the former world number one added.

The five-time Grand Slam champion has also been handed wild cards for Madrid (May 7-13) and Rome (May 15-21) tournaments.

Whether Sharapova will receive a wildcard at Roland Garros will be known just a week before qualifying begins for the second major of the season, which is slated to be held from May 28 to June 11.

Sharapova's initial two-year ban was earlier reduced to 15 months following an appeal to the court of arbitration for sport, which concluded she had not intended to cheat.

-ANI

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