MOSCOW, May 17. /TASS/. Russia’s Maria Sharapova had to withdraw from the second-round match against Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni at the Italian Open on Tuesday.
She had come from a set down to lead Lucic-Baroni 4-6, 6-3, 2-1, but was forced to pull out from the third set suffering an injury in her left thigh.
"I apologize for having to withdraw from my match today with a left thigh injury. I will be getting all the necessary examinations to make sure it is not serious. I want to thank the tournament for giving me an opportunity to play in this special event again," Sharapova said in a statement, released by the Women Tennis Association (WTA).
It was her first match since Sharapova, who continues her comeback from a 15-month doping ban, was denied a wildcard for the French Open, one of the most important annual Grand Slam competitions.
Early last year, Sharapova announced that doping tests revealed the presence of the banned performance enhancing drug, meldonium, in her body. Following the announcement, Russia’s most decorated tennis player was provisionally suspended from all tennis-related activities, including the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.
She was initially set to serve a two-year suspension for violating anti-doping regulations starting January 26, 2016. However, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled on October 4, 2016 to cut her suspension term from 24 to 15 months.
After sitting out the suspension, Sharapova, 30, made an impressive comeback last week at the tennis tournament in Stuttgart knocking out all of her opponents up to the semifinals.