Tennis

Maria Sharapova says suspicion will remain on her return from doping ban in April

Maria Sharapova accepts she will have a cloud of suspicion hanging over her when she returns to tennis next month.

The five-time grand slam champion is serving a 15-month doping ban after testing positive for the cardiac drug medium at the Australian Open in 2016.

Sharapova's suspension ends on April 26, and she will play her first match the same day having been given a wildcard into the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart.

The Russian's impending return is the hottest topic in tennis, with the reaction from her fellow players largely lukewarm.

The awarding of a wildcard for a tournament that begins while she is still banned has been particularly controversial, with Caroline Wozniacki branding it "disrespectful".

The French Open and Wimbledon, meanwhile, are under pressure over whether to award entry to their former champion.

Sharapova admitted taking medium at an extraordinary press conference last March, insisting her only mistake was not realizing the drug had been added to the banned list at the start of 2016.

An initial two-year ban was reduced to 15 months on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which concluded she had not intended to cheat.

But, asked if she expected the suspicion to linger for the rest of her career, Sharapova told Vogue: "I think if I was trying to hide something, I don't think I would come out to the world and say I was taking a drug for 10 years.

"If I was really trying to take the easy way out, that's not a very smart thing to do. But the answer to your question is, absolutely."

Sharapova is more confident of the reception she will receive from the public.

The 29-year-old, one of the tennis' biggest stars and the world's highest-earning female athlete, got a taste of life after the ban at exhibition matches in Las Vegas and Puerto Rico late last year.

"I received really nice receptions when I walked out to play my exhibition matches," she added.

"Ever since all this happened, I've had so many strangers actually come up to me. Like chefs coming out of the kitchen, or pilots come out of the cockpit to say something. It is so heartening. "I've had tunnel vision about my career, and I don't think I ever realized the effect I've had on people. That has blown my mind." As well as Stuttgart, Sharapova has also been given wild cards into Madrid and Rome, the two biggest warm-up events for the French Open. There will be no easing herself back in, therefore, and Sharapova appears determined to hit the ground running. The former world No 1, who is now unranked, said: "I have expectations of myself because I know what I'm capable of. Will I have those standards? Of course. Will I have to be patient? It's not my greatest strength."

Lesia Tsurenko wins in Acapulco while Ashleigh Barty seals Malaysia title

Lesia Tsurenko claimed the third WTA title of her career with a 6-1 7-5 victory over Kristina Mladenovic at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco.

The Ukrainian's strong play from the baseline did not allow the Frenchwoman to settle and Tsurenko raced into a 4-0 lead in the opening set in just 15 minutes.

It was a different story in the second set as it began with eight consecutive breaks of serve before Mladenovic held for a 5-4 lead.

Tsurenko responded with a hold of her own before breaking Mladenovic again and then serving out for victory in one hour and 20 minutes.

"It was a very difficult match. I felt very comfortable in the first set but in the second I felt quite nervous," Tsurenko explained after the match.

"She played better, and I think I was realizing that I could get the title and that was making me nervous. She really pushed me to play my best tennis because she was attacking a lot. I was just focusing on myself and doing everything that I can. I'm really happy to win."

Australian qualifier Ashleigh Barty secured her first singles title by beating Nao Hibino in straight sets to win the ALYA Malaysian Open.

Barty, 20, completed a memorable week in Kuala Lumpur with a 6-3 6-2 win over Japan's Hibino in one hour and 13 minutes.

World No 158 Barty then teamed up with Casey Dellacqua to add the doubles title to her singles crown.

The Australian pair hit back from 5-1 down in a first-set tie-break to win 7-6 (7/5) 6-3 against Nicole Melichar and Makoto Ninomiya.

"I feel great – very tired but great," Barty told WTA.com. "It's been a monster week for me.

"I don't think I could have physically have played any more matches.

"I'm very happy to come away with two titles, but even if we didn't it would have been a fantastic tournament anyway. Now it's just an absolute bonus."

Roger Federer beats Benoit Paire in Dubai Tennis Championships opener

Back on court, Roger Federer won his first match since claiming his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.

The third-seeded Federer beat Benoit Paire 6-1, 6-3 Monday to move into the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships. Federer, a seven-time Dubai champion who holds a 48-5 record in 13 appearances, missed last year’s tournament with a knee injury.

Read more | Jack Sock wins ATP Delray Beach Open after Milos Raonic withdraws due to injury

“It’s incredible to be back on the knee,” Federer said. “I’m standing and I’m here.”

Federer was cheered as he walked on court. He maintains a home in Dubai and is viewed as a part-time local in the city.

“It’s nice as you’re warming up you hear the crowd as they’re getting pumped up,” Federer said. “You hear music and hear the roars.

Read more | Angelique Kerber misses out on top ranking after loss against Elina Svitolina

“And when you walk out, I don’t know, it’s a nice feeling to have,” he added. “It’s mutual because I missed playing here last year.”

Federer saved all three break points he faced in the match, with all three coming in the fifth service game of the first set.

“There were some break points to be saved,” Federer said. “I think I returned very well for a first round. I was able to get my second serves in deep, was able to go on the offensive quickly.”

Read more | Arantxa Sanchez Vicario to visit Delhi for Roland-Garros Masters

Also, Philipp Kohlschreiber beat eighth-seeded Gilles Muller 6-4, 7-6 (1) and sixth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut defeated Karen Khachanov 6-1, 7-6 (4).

The 32nd-ranked Kohlschreiber is now two matches away from his 400th career victory.

Andy Murray is the top seed in Dubai and faces Tunisian world number 47 Malek Jaziri in the first round

Novak Djokovic beat Andy Murray

Djokovic beat Murray in three sets (6: 3,5: 7,6: 4). Thus began his nice year, but also defended his title at the tournament in Doha. Novak, both he inflicted the first defeat of Murray after a string of 28 victories.

The two best players in the world played a fantastic match, which after nearly three hours of great struggle went to Djokovic.

With this victory, Djokovic wins 67th career title and a check for 209,000 dollars.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnCARVGrzxA

Murray, who lost a competitive match for the first time since September, said: “It was a tough one to lose, but a great way to start the year. I think it was high-level tennis. Some of the points were physically tough, but a great way to start the new year playing like that, and I look forward to the next few weeks. I’ve had a fantastic week here, I’ve really enjoyed it.

” Djokovic said: “Definitely one of the best ways to start the year. After saving five match points and winning yesterday’s semi-final, I had three or four match points in the second set. He turned it around, and I thought: ‘Wow, I hope this is not payback time.’

 

Federer continues breaking records

Roger Federer wins the start of the Hopman Cup in Perth and caused great tennis euphoria. 13,684 tennis fans attended the match in the Swiss singles.

The most successful world player even trained before full debates and Australians have embraced as their own, even more cheering for Switzerland than for his team.

Federer won in singles and doubles and successfully started trying to win one of the competitions which are not in their cabinets.

Serena Williams ended the show in Auckland with 88 unforced errors!

The former best player in the world and subjugated the 22 Grand Slam titles, Serena Williams infamously launched a new tennis year.

American morning in the quarterfinals of the WTA tournament in Auckland was eliminated from 72. Tennis Madison Brengle USA 2-1 (6-1 6-7 6-4). Serena tactic played more desperately, made 88 unforced errors, and ended with the dual service error.

Interestingly, these two players have previously played only one match and it in 2015, and that young Bengal managed to win only one game.

RISKE DOESN’T DROP GAME IN THIRD SET EN ROUTE TO WIN OVER RADWANSKA

SHENZHEN, China (AP) — Defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska lost in the quarterfinals of the Shenzhen Open on Thursday, falling to Alison Riske 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 a year after beating the American in the final.

The third-ranked Radwanska was broken three times in both the first and third sets, winning less than a third of the points on her first serve.

Third-seeded Johanna Konta fared better in her quarterfinal match against Kristyna Pliskova, withstanding 15 aces from her Czech opponent to win 6-4, 6-7 (11), 6-3.

Konta will next face another Czech player, Katerina Siniakova, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over Nina Stojanovic. The eighth-seeded Riske will play Camila Giorgi of Italy. Giorgi beat Wang Qiang 6-0, 6-2.

Williams sisters bad started in 2017

The Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, bad started the new year. Serena failed to place in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Auckland, while Venus because of a failure to withdraw from the tournament.

Serena Williams of tournaments in Auckland lost in the second round by compatriot Madison Brengle. Serena match against Bengal that the rankings are located at 72 the places, made 88 unforced errors, including a double-fault which ended the match 4: 6, 7: 6, 4: 6.

us at the same tournament due to injury on the arm pulled ahead of the match in the second round.

Djokovic honest: I lack the matches against Nadal

The second player on the ATP list, Djokovic admitted that his boast swords with his great rival Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic almost every year began a duel with Rafa in Doha, but this time it will not happen because the Spaniard decided to change the schedule and play Australia in Brisbane.

– Rivalry with Rafa is something special. We played a lot of matches, Grand Slam finals, and especially what was the Australian Open which lasted nearly six hours. I lack duels with him – said, Djokovic.

Nole did not write off in the fight for titles Nadal and Roger Federer the past period had problems with injuries and had to prematurely finish last season.

– When I became one of the best players I had to find a way to win him and Federer. A few years ago I did not know if I can be dominant why they were here. Now that we have returned to unsubscribe from the fight for the title because of their history, performance, and quality that we possess – added Djokovic.

Kvitova returns for six months

Czech tennis player Petra Kvitova will sit out the tournament six months due to injury with which gained after the thief entered her home and attacked with a knife Yesterday thief entered the home of two-time champion of Wimbledon and with a knife-inflicted heavy damage to the left hand because she urgently had to be operated.

The operation lasted nearly four hours since been damaged nerves and tendons.

If rehabilitation goes according to schedule Kvitova in three months can start with the training.

The thief’s from the house of Kvitova took 160 euros, and the police are still searching for him