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Russian tennis star Sharapova gets wildcard for WTA tournament in Stuttgart next month

March 14, 17:59 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Sharapova hit the tennis courts last time in January

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Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

© AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky

MOSCOW, March 14. /TASS/. Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova has been green-lighted with a wildcard to enter the WTA (Women Tennis Association) tournament in Germany’s Stuttgart on April 22-28, the tournament’s press service announced on Thursday.

Sharapova hit the tennis courts last time in January. In the opening round of the WTA tournament in Saint Petersburg on January 28, Sharapova defeated Daria Gavrilova of Australia and was then set to face her compatriot Daria Kasatkina in the next round. However, Sharapova withdrew from the tournament citing a shoulder injury.

Announcing the stellar line-up for the 2019 tournament in Stuttgart, the WTA official website reported that "In addition to last year's victor [Karolina] Pliskova and two-time winner [Angelique] Kerber (2015, 2016), three further former champions will feature in the draw: Julia Goerges (2011) and, via wildcard, both three-time winner Maria Sharapova (2012, 2013, 2014) and Laura Siegemund (2017)."

"This means that the champions from the past eight years - stretching back to the now-retired Justine Henin in 2010 - will be present," the WTA announced.

Sharapova, who turns 31 next month, is Russia’s most decorated tennis player having won a total of five Grand Slam tournaments, namely the Australian Open in 2008, the French Open in 2012 and 2014, Wimbledon in 2004 and the US Open in 2006. She also clinched the silver in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and was the 2008 Federations Cup champion.

In 2018 Sharapova participated in 11 tennis tournaments, including four Grand Slam competitions. Her best results last season were the semifinals of the tournaments in China’s Shenzhen and Italy’s Rome.

Playing at the Grand Slam tournaments last year Sharapova reached the third round of the Australian Open, the quarterfinals of the Roland-Garros in France, was knocked out in the opening round at the Wimbledon and reached the fourth round stage of the US Open.

At the opening tournament of the Grand Slam series this year, the 2019 Australian Open, Sharapova managed to reach the 4th round, where she suffered a defeat of 6-4; 1-6; 4-6 to Australia’s Ashleigh Barty.

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