30 April, 2017
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reduced the suspension to 15 months after it was convinced that Sharapova was not aware that the substance is included on the list of banned substances by the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA).
Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam victor and former world number one, lost 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 to Kristina Mladenovic as the Russian exited her first tournament back from a ban after testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.
Keep up to date with ALL the latest tennis news, gossip and rumours. Sharapova, growing in confidence with every point despite a dozen unforced errors in the first set, broke the Italian early in the second, and her 11th ace put her 5-3 ahead.
Sharapova was awarded the chance to join the WTA Tour in Stuttgart when her ban reached its conclusion, despite the tournament starting two days before.
Sharapova, who was banned for using meldonium after testing positive at the 2016 Australian Open, has also received wildcards for forthcoming tournaments in Madrid and Rome.
"Of course, she is authorized to play tennis again, but why would she get that extra help compared to other players?"
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However, not everyone has been happy to see Sharapova back on the court. "So I don't think that's right and definitely not someone I can say I look up to anymore because it's definitely ruined it for me a little bit".
Titled Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova on clay tournament in Stuttgart played their first match after a 15-month disqualification. The 21-year-old Kontaveit had already knocked out reigning French Open champion and fifth seed Garbine Muguruza in the second round.
Two-time defending champion Angelique Kerber, who was against Sharapova receiving a wild-card entry, was upset by Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-2, 7-5. I didn't know when I would be back.
Kontaveit was clearly shaken, offering up three set points on her own serve, Sharapova taking the second of them courtesy of an inch-perfect backhand victor down the line.
After a nervy start and ultimately comfortable win against Roberta Vinci in the first round on Wednesday, Sharapova stepped up a level to beat fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova 7-5 6-1. "That's when I am at my best".
I am not an individual who gets angry about things, I let things go quickly, she said.