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Russian tennis chief says Maria Sharapova fit to enter WTA Top-10 next season

October 30, 15:08 UTC+3 MOSCOW

After a 15-month long suspension for violating anti-doping regulations, Sharapova made her comeback to tennis in April

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MOSCOW, October 30. /TASS/. Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova is fit to put up a better performance next season and enter the top-10 of women players in the WTA (Women Tennis Association) rating list, Shamil Tarpishchev, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), told TASS on Monday.

"Sharapova had several outstanding matches this season, but her injury kept her out from winning more points," Tarpishchev said in an interview with TASS.

Following a 15-month suspension over doping abuse accusations, Sharapova made her comeback in April, but was later forced to miss more than two months due to a sustained thigh injury.

"She was forced to skip five or six prestigious tournaments and is now ranked 60th among the best women tennis players, and this is not a bad result since she would be now among seeded players at lower-rank tournaments and earning more points consequently," the RTF president said.

"I believe that Sharapova would manage to finish the next season ranked in the Top-10," Tarpishchev added.

Earlier this month, Sharapova won the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) final game against Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka in China’s Tianjin, scoring 7:5, 7:6 (10:8). The 2017 WTA Tianjin Open was the first tournament for Sharapova to win since May 2015.

Sharapova won 16 out of 22 matches she played this season following her return to sports. The 30-year-old player also took part in the VTB Kremlin Cup for the first time in 10 years, but lost in the opening round encounter against Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova. It turned out to be Sharapova’s last match this season.

Sharapova is Russia’s most famous 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.

After a 15-month long suspension for violating anti-doping regulations, Sharapova made her comeback to tennis in April at Stuttgart, where she stormed into the semifinals round of the tournament.

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