After almost flawlessly starting the new chapter of her career with a straight-set victory over Roberta Vinci in the first round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Maria Sharapova continued to erase from our memory that she hadn’t played for 15 months as the three-time Stuttgart champion confidently eliminated Ekaterina Makarova in the second round, again without dropping a set.
The first set between Sharapova and Makarova went with serve all the way to 5-all. In the 11th game Makarova had an opportunity to break, but she didn’t convert it and in the twelfth game Sharapova recorded the first and deciding break of the set, 7-5. Just as yesterday against Vinci, after a close first set, Sharapova started to dominate and raced through the second set, 6-1.
Having reached the quarterfinals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Sharapova is projected to rise to approximately No.375 in the WTA rankings. A semifinal appearance would take the Russian to about No.260, while the final would ensure an approximate ranking of No.180. The title would propel Maria to somewhere around No.125.
Masha’s quarterfinal opponent will be qualifier Anett Kontaveit of Estonia, who upset fifth seed Garbine Muguruza.
By the way, commenting on Sharapova’s comeback from the doping suspension Eugenie Bouchard said:
She’s a cheater and I don’t think a cheater in any sport should be allowed to play again. I don’t think that’s right and she’s not someone I can say I look up to any more. It’s so unfair to all the other players who do it in the right way and are true.
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out our Wednesday’s photo gallery dedicated to Sharapova’s grand return.