Tennis fans can look forward to a blockbuster match in Madrid on Monday as Maria Sharapova has cleared her first round at the 2017 Mutua Madrid Open, setting up a much-discussed encounter with Eugenie Bouchard.
Sharapova’s way into the second round wasn’t particularly smooth though, as the Russian faced a very steady Mirjana Lucic-Baroni inside the Caja Magica. The Croatian took the first set off Sharapova who bounced back in the second set and went on to deliver a bagel to close out the match.
The Russian five-time Grand Slam winner will now face Eugenie Bouchard on Monday night. Once a fan of Sharapova, Bouchard has become one of Sharapova’s most outspoken critics in recent months, openly voicing her disappointment about Sharapova not having been banned from tennis indefinitely.
Sunday in Madrid was not short of other spectacular matches either as Caroline Wozniacki played a 3 hour 27 minute marathon to finally clear Monica Niculescu, while local hero Garbine Muguruza fell to Timea Bacsinszky in straight sets.
Keep checking back for more from the 2017 Mutua Madrid Open on Women’s Tennis Blog all week long.
MORE PHOTOS FROM MADRID:
- Saturday: Bouchard & Pliskova move on, Keys crashes out
- Friday: Qualifying, main-draw ceremony, All Access Hour
- Thursday: Tie Break Tens exhibition featuring Sharapova, Halep, Keys, Kuznetsova, Radwanska, Puig
Much as I am not a particular fan of Maria, I hope she beats Bouchard convincingly. The drug that Maria was taking was legal for the entire time she took it, until the last month. She’s not a “drug cheat” and to say she should be banned for life is just ridiculous. There’s no way Maria would want to get suspended as she was, or damage her lucrative ‘brand’ as she did, so we can only assume that she really didn’t know about the change of rules. So guilty of negligence, yes, but no more. And she has served more than enough time to atone for that. Let her play and let her show people like Bouchard who is the better player.
I agree with CLT – I hope Maria really smashes Genie out of the water. Revenge is best served cold
Even if she has served her time, WTA should not welcome and promote her so shamelessly …. The message they are giving out is … “as long as you are a star it’s okay with us that you cheated.” This article hear sums it up quite niclely http://www.138mph.com/has-sharapova-done-her-time/
I hope Maria beats Genie. I think she needs a lesson from her former idol. It will definitely be a popcorn match!
I dont think WTA is trying to send message “as long as you are a star it’s okay with us that you cheated”……I think that is a very shallow and narrow-minded conclusion. I agree that would be the case had she been given wild card for RG 2016, Wimbledon 2016 or even Rio Olympic 2016 but she didn’t get them and instead she was serving her punishment.
I think if we take the whole picture together since January 2016, the actual message would be something like “when you are a star and you make mistake, you have to own and accept the consequences instead of trying to deny it to save your own reputation. When you have admitted it and served the consequences, you have all the right in the world to resume your life and it will take you to back to the right track along with its good things and miracles”.
Despite the carefully stage crafted press conference Sharapova has never really owned up to her error. She has portrayed herself as a victim throughout and used her celebrity to gain an advantage on return. Humility is not something Sharapova knows anything about.
She will most likely beat Bouchard tomorrow but I for one am glad to see that not everyone in women’s tennis is fawning over her and attempting to gloss over the doping violation.
I disagree… Everyone seemed to forget that she did admit her mistake and own up to it at her press conference in March 2016.
The only thing she has ever said back to the ITF was a few days before her ban ended. Had she not owned her mistake up, she would have said it ages ago without the need to go the 15 month suspension. Why would go all the trouble if she is not owning it up from the beginning?
And for the record, other former players such as Cilic and Troicki also had commented the poor information and regulation system of the authority. The press however have made the news as if she did not own up to her mistake which is totally twisted.
Whether people like it or not, the facts do not lie. She did make a mistake and she paid for it….Now she is back and continues her life….The rest will be gone with the wind…. Now let’s enjoy the match cause the next name on The Blacklist is up at the moment and the case file name is: FILE 003: E.Bouchard
Let’s face it, she was irresponsible about not checking the updated list of prohibited substances. It was her fault. She never really took responsibility about it, just played the victim. Bouchard’s reaction was probably a bit too much, but she is kinda right. No matter if you cheated only for a month or years. you still cheated. And yes, her being a star helps her case a lot. I mean look at WTA’s social media accounts, almost every post is about her.
Waiting for a sharapova masterclass
I completely agree with Sabey. There is nothing nobel in admitting taking a drug when it is a matter of time before everyone knows, and there is actually no reason to act like a victim. The pattern of taking the PED reveals the obvious reason why she did it. I thought she was good enough without, and therefore this was a huge disappointment, as well as the acting of WTA now. There is really no reason to welcome her back with WC:s like she has been away due to injury or ilness instead of a (reduced!) time ban.
Genie backs up the trash talk with a win.
Maybe this will give her the confidence she needs to regain at least some of her old form.
Ah yes, the irony….It’s either people say she is not admitting it, or she is not irresponsible for not checking the list or she plays the victim….. So people are just going to smash her from every possible angle because we are such a saint and we do not make irresponsible decision once in a while.
Let’s just wait until they make Panadol and Nurofen illegal…Then let’s see if it’s the case is still the same…
On further note, I agree with you, Claire when it comes to WTA decision after her ban was finished….. However, people should not put all the blame on Sharapova’s door. It’s purely WTA and tournaments decision and if we want to criticise, then they are the ones to criticise, not Sharapova.
In the end, this is where I stand…Sharapova made a mistake and she was indeed guilty of taking a prohibited substance on January 2016. She made a choice to make a public announcement and admitted her mistake. This was, by any way, irrelevant with the ban because no matter whether she made a conference or not, she was still going to be assessed. She then served her punishment and now she had paid her dues and ready to come back…..It’s that simple… How she makes her comeback, it’s not her fault to accept every possible offers that come right at her front door. People punished her to a higher standard, I think its only sensible if she got all the blessings to a higher standard too……. So she lost anyway, moving to next tournament…..This story becomes old.