Time will get a little more interesting now for Maria Sharapova, who is in a smoking hot form since her return to tennis following a 15-month doping suspension. After three comfortable wins in her Stuttgart Open 2017 campaign, the real challenge for the 30-year-old comes on Saturday, April 29, in the form of France's lanky star Kristina Mladenovic (Kiki Mladenovic).
They meet in the semifinals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix 2017.
In case you didn't know, Mladenovic, 23, beat former World No 1 Angelique Kerber, en route her stunning run in the WTA tennis tournament.
Sharapova's wins so far
- Round of 32: Sharapova 7-5 6-3 Roberta Vinci
- Round of 16: Sharapova 7-5 6-1 Makarova
- Quarter-finals: Sharapova 6-3 6-4 Kontaveit
Mladenovic's wins so far
- Round of 32: Mladenovic 6-4 6-2 Lucic-Baroni
- Round of 16: Mladenovic 6-2 7-5 Angelique Kerber
- Quarter-finals: Mladenovic 6-3 6-2 Suarez Navarro
Mind games, already?
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Sharapova's doping past has been brought to light once again by Mladenovic ahead of their mouthwatering clash. The lanky lass has stated that the Russian is receiving preferential treatment.
I understand tournaments want her in the draw. She is very famous and they want more attention, which is part of the business. On the other hand, you can ask if it is fair to get a wildcard. It's a fact that she was caught by anti-doping, but she wasn't the first one.
Others have also had the right to come back and play tennis, but with a different road - they wouldn't get invitations to tournaments. Of course, she is authorised to play tennis again, but why would she get that extra help compared to other players?
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- Mladenovic on Sharapova.
Sharapova's take: "I have let my tennis do the talking. My results have spoken for everything that needs to be said. The biggest part of my comeback is what happens on court."
Sharapova vs Makarova: Match schedule
- Date: April 29
- Time: Approx 7:30 pm IST [2 pm GMT, 10 am EST]
- Venue: Center Court, Porsche Arena.
Where to watch and follow
India: TV: No live coverage.
USA, Australia, France, Middle East: TV: Bein Sports. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.
Germany: TV: DAZN. Live Streaming: DAZN Online.
UK and Ireland: TV: BT Sport.
Live tennis score: WTA website.