Bookmakers install Maria Sharapova as joint-favourite at French Open

Getty Images

Sharapova, similar to the day prior when she claimed she was "way above" engaging in war of words with tennis starlet Eugenie Bouchard, said she will not use Mladenovic's rip jobs as added motivation in their semifinal.

It was Sharapova's first match since her quarter-final defeat to World number one Serena Williams at the 2016 Australian Open, where she was tested positive for banned substance Meldonium. Sharapova has also been granted wildcards into the Madrid and Rome WTA tournaments, but must wait until May 16 to learn if she will get a wild card for the French Open.

"I'm happy. I executed my game plan and I was solid", said a relieved Sharapova, whose comeback is deeply controversial and has a wild card to play in the Stuttgart event where she has been a champion three times.

This was a far more polished, confident display from Sharapova, who hit nine aces and 29 winners against Makarova. To know you were walking back out there was special.

Now, after she progressed to the semi-finals, Sharapova has created another talking point in an exchange with Dan King from the Sun Newspaper.

The French Open is considering an invitation for the two-time champion as well.

If Sharapova can build on the form she has already shown, it is certainly not impossible she could win a third French Open title.

"It was our first meeting on clay, which is better for her, and in Stuttgart, which is even better for her", Pliskova said.

Speaking in an on-court interview on BT Sport, Sharapova, who next faces either Carla Suarez Navarro or Kristina Mladenovic, said: "I thought I had a really good rhythm".

Top-ranked players Angelique Kerber and Andy Murray are among those who have questioned whether Sharapova should be allowed to resume her career in main draws without playing her way back through qualifiers.

With the win, Sharapova has now set up a second-round encounter against Russia's Ekaterina Makarova, who clinched a 6-2, 6-4 win over Polish star Agnieszka Radwanska.

She initially was given a two-year ban by the International Tennis Federation, but it was reduced on appeal to 15 months.

Speaking to reporters, Bouchard labelled the Russian a "cheat" and was of the belief she shouldn't be allowed to return to competitive tennis.

Related News:

  • Jammu and Kashmir: Pakistan violates ceasefire in Mankot area in Poonch

    Ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Mendhar's Mankote area in early morning hours of the day, intermittent firing still continuing. Speculative fire is normally used to check movement of suspicious persons along the border.

    Russia's Defense ministry denies fighting of Syrian government and opposition units

    He told dpa shortly after the agreement went into effect: "Previous agreements were violated, let us see if this holds". The largest safe zone includes Syria's Idlib Province and adjoining districts of Hama, Aleppo, and Latakia provinces.

    Chaos at Florida airport after Spirit flights canceled

    Following the cancellations, a fight erupted near the Spirit counter in Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Problems began last month with cellphone video capturing a passenger being dragged off a United Airlines flight.
  • Durant, Warriors push Jazz to brink of elimination

    He didn't travel to Salt Lake City and has been out since Game 3 of the first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers. It seized the lead for the first time in the series when it went up 48-47 in the second period, and led 50-49 at half-time.
    MCD polls: BJP trounces AAP

    MCD polls: BJP trounces AAP

    Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken announced his resignation and also backed the AAP's charge of the EVMs having been tampered with. Party members said that it was Shah who wanted to make a generational shift so that candidates connect with the young.

    What to expect from Windows 10 S

    That means you'll be Googling with Bing while you're inside Windows 10 S , rather than, well, Google. Pre-orders for the Surface Laptop opened in 20 countries, including New Zealand and Australia today.
  • Motive unclear for University of Texas stabbings

    Motive unclear for University of Texas stabbings

    White was arrested as he was approaching another group of students, still brandishing a hunting knife, the police said . Former high school classmate Angela Bonilla, who now attends UT, told the Herald that "no one expected him to do this".
    Turkish official: US arming Kurds 'unacceptable'

    Turkish official: US arming Kurds 'unacceptable'

    President Donald Trump, who approved the arms supply to support a campaign to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa from Islamic State. MHP general secretary Ismet Buyukataman said: "This decision is a clear threat and without a doubt a sign of enmity".
    Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, jokes about Comey firing

    Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, jokes about Comey firing

    Trump underscored "the need for Russian Federation to rein in the Assad regime, Iran and Iranian proxies", the White House said. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson each met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday.
  • Suspect in doctors' slayings once worked at their posh condo

    Suspect in doctors' slayings once worked at their posh condo

    The building has high security, including security cameras in the lobby and a 24/7 concierge, Golden said. Additionally, access to the elevator for its penthouse level is regulated by a key fob, Golden said.

    With book, Ivanka Trump must walk complicated ethical line

    After growing up in the public eye, Ivanka wanted to make a name for herself on her own and meant to do so by becoming a model. Ivanka's focus on gender equality was influenced by Sheryl Sandberg and Lean In . "Women who work are real", she writes.

    Syria says Israel attacked Hezbollah arms depot near Damascus airport

    The strike came just days after Al Jazeera reported that the IDF struck a base belonging to a pro-Syrian militia near Quneitra. The Syrian source further claimed that the early morning strike near Damascus had been launched from Israel's Golan Heights.


Most liked

Burr: FBI director firing 'makes no sense'
Nor is there any evidence to show there were questionable ties between Russian Federation and the campaign, she contended. But Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said a special prosecutor would only "impede the current work being done".

Juventus beats Monaco 2-1 to reach Champions League final
Gonzalo Higuain burst into the area and chipped Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic, but defender Kamil Glik hooked the ball clear. Radamel Falcao then blasted over the crossbar two minutes later.

Recent rout of Real Madrid boosts Atletico's hopes
His shot was saved by Jan Oblak, but Isco pounced on the rebound to stab the ball home. BST), and can be watched online through free live stream (details below).

UNESCO votes to condemn Israel's sovereignty in Jerusalem
Last year, the UNESCO approved a motion that endorses the right of the Palestinians to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and slams Israeli provocations around the holy site.

Debenhams Plc's (DEB) Hold Rating Reaffirmed at Jefferies Group LLC
Finally, Deutsche Bank AG reissued a "buy" rating on shares of Polypipe Group PLC in a research note on Thursday, February 16th. Over the last 30 and 90 trading days the company share price has increased 118 points and increased 27.5 points respectively.

Voters face straightforward choice between SNP and Tories - Nicola Sturgeon
Mr Kelly added: "It's clearer now than ever before that only Labour can defeat the SNP in vast swathes of Scotland". The results suggest that the Tories are on track to secure a significant majority in the UK General Election.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's Initial Rotten Tomatoes Rating
The Guardians of the Galaxy are back in the dark rooms and one of the characters nearly did not become part of the adventure. But Ayesha isn't the only obscure (to most people) part of Marvel's world that Gunn has brought into Guardians Vol. 2 .

Spurs overcome Leonard injury, Harden to beat Rockets in OT
Harden ranked fourth among the seven Rockets players to see the floor with a -0.15 nERD in Tuesday's defeat, per numberFire Live. Harden notched a triple-double (33 points, 10 boards, 10 assists) for Houston, who host Game 6 on Thursday night.

Trump administration delays Paris climate agreement decision
Spicer said Trump is continuing to hear from advisers on the pros and cons of remaining in the global accord. A meeting for top advisers to discuss the deal was set for Tuesday afternoon but was postponed.

Mud in your eye: Always Dreaming wins Kentucky Derby in slop
The colt was bought as a yearling by Bonomo for $350,000 at the Keeneland September sale and Viola later joined the partnership. He and Viola were childhood friends growing up in Brooklyn. "They would ask me how old I was", Bonomo said of when he was 15.

Turkish PM objects to US arming of Syrian Kurds
The YPG militia said the decision is "historic" and a "sign of confidence" in the group, in a statement released on Wednesday. Until Tuesday, official USA policy was to supply weapons only to the Arab components of the SDF - never to its Kurds.

Mourinho mulls United changes at Arsenal
It would be great to close the circle and say "we are a club that has won every competition in the football world". "He loves it. To get to the final we have to play just as well at Old Trafford in the second leg because they always score away.

American journalist asked to leave 'Kushner family event' in China
Saturday's event was hosted by Qiaowai, a Chinese company seeking funding for the Kushner 1 project in New Jersey. President Trump has made visa reform a central piece of its promised changes to immigration policy.

Syrian Kurdish official praises US decision to provide arms
Yıldırım said "there is still an opportunity for the United States to take Turkey's sensitivities into consideration". White said they're "the only force on the ground that can successfully seize Raqqa in the near future".

1 arrested after brawl aboard Southwest Airlines plane in California
Southwest Airlines expressed gratitude to their employees for reacting quickly and keeping the incident from getting worse. This one happened aboard a Southwest plane shortly after it landed in Burbank, California.