Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

'First time? Wow, virgins' - Awkward exchange between Maria Sharapova and Sun journalist

'First time? Wow, virgins' - Awkward exchange between Maria Sharapova and Sun journalist 'First time? Wow, virgins' - Awkward exchange between Maria Sharapova and Sun journalist
Kristopher Love | 29 April, 2017, 17:10

Maria Sharapova is closing in on the French Open qualifiers after reaching the Porsche Grand Prix quarter-final in Stuttgart.

Friday saw the 30-year-old maintain her winning streak after a straight sets victory of 6-3, 6-4 against Estonian Anett Kontaveit, meaning she is now one match away from the final.

Since returning to the tennis court, Sharapova has been receiving a lot of criticism from fellow tennis players after she received a wild card entry into the Stuttgart Open.

The former world No 1 will now play France's Kristina Mladenovic on Saturday for a place in Sunday's final.

"I think from the WTA it sends the wrong message to young kids: 'Cheat and we will welcome you back with open arms.' I don't think that's right and definitely she is not someone I can say I look up to anymore", Bouchard said last week. "But when I got the opportunity, I just rolled with it".

The Frenchwoman claimed a year ago that other players were "saying she's a cheater" following Sharapova's sanction.

Three matches into her comeback, Sharapova has shifted the dialogue to a declaration of dominating intent. "I don't need to comment on that", Sharapova said. There was no looking back after that as the five-time Grand Slam victor, apart from her booming returns, also impressed with her serves as she clinched the match with an ace. "I have to get through the matches and I still have to win them and that's my job", she told BBC Sport.

Sharapova was again impressive against plucky Kontaveit, firing down four aces, 28 winners and hitting just two double faults.

Against the 36th-ranked Italian, Sharapova had a shaky start, conceding seven of the first eight points and dropping the opening two games within five minutes.

While we would not be so bold to suggest that Maria Sharapova had met her match, there had to be a swift kick up of level to tackle a player who came in fresh off a final, and won through qualifying to earn this spot.

In an interview with French publication Le Parisien, Mladenovic said Sharapova's colleagues on the WTA Tour believe she's "a cheater" and suggested one reason Sharapova received little sympathy after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium was because "she wasn't really well liked. she wasn't really nice nor polite, let's be honest".

World number five Simona Halep proved far too strong for Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, taking just under an hour to record a convincing 6-3 6-1 victory, while wild card Laura Siegemund beat Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7/3) 5-7 6-3. "I think I was fighting pretty well".