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Maria Sharapova marks doping ban comeback with win over Roberta Vinci

Maria Sharapova made a winning comeback from a 15-month doping ban when she defeated Italian Roberta Vinci 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the Stuttgart Grand Prix.

tennis Updated: Apr 27, 2017 00:36 IST
Maria Sharapova,Stuttgart Grand prix,Roberta Vinci
Maria Sharapova blows a kiss after winning 7-5, 6-3 against Roberta Vinci at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany on Wednesday. It was Sharapova's first match after a 15-month doping ban.(AP)

Former world No.1 Maria Sharapova made a winning comeback to the tour on Wednesday following her 15-month doping ban, beating Italian Roberta Vinci in straight sets in the first round of the Stuttgart Grand Prix.

The 30-year-old Russian, three-time winner on Stuttgart’s clay courts, received a controversial wild card for the German tournament, having had no ranking points after more than a year out following her suspension for banned substances.

Read more | Maria Sharapova’s return: 5 comeback attempts by Slam winners in tennis history

She had a nervous start in front of a supportive crowd but quickly found her strokes and her trademark shrieks to power past the world No. 36 7-5, 6-3 and set up a second-round clash against fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova.

Read more | Maria Sharapova’s comeback starts in Stuttgart, promoters drool over profit

Sharapova’s initial two-year suspension was reduced to 15 months after she tested positive at the 2016 Australian Open for meldonium, a medication the Russian had been taking within the rules but which was then reclassified as a banned drug.

First Published: Apr 27, 2017 00:32 IST