Sharapova Guarantees Wimbledon Return After Italian Open Victory

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She appeared to be struggling though and stopped early in the third set.

Sharapova stunned the sporting world a year ago when she stood up in a Los Angeles hotel to say that she had failed a doping test for meldonium - a drug that she said she had "legally" taken throughout her career to treat medical conditions.

The win earned Sharapova enough points to enter the top 200 of the rankings and earn at least a spot in qualifying for Wimbledon.

The bold decision of the French federation now throws the ball in the court of Wimbledon who will face a similarly hard decision when they announce their wildcards on June 20.

Announcing the decision on a live Facebook broadcast on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ time), French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli said he told Sharapova in person.

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"While there can be a wild card for return from injury, there can't be a wild card for return from doping", Giudicelli said.

Bouchard is already set to play Roland Garros, but French Open officials said that the Russian's performance in the two clay tournaments she played this year wasn't enough to qualify her for the grand slam. That leaves Sharapova out of the French Open, an event she twice won.

"Winning matches will get me places, so if that's where it got me today, then I will take it", said Sharapova, who entered this week at No. 211.

Maria Sharapova ensured that she will compete at Wimbledon this summer with a first-round victory at the Italian Open yesterday.

Former world number one Maria Sharapova saw her Internazionali BNL d'Italia campaign cut short by a leg injury as she retired from her second-round match against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

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The 5-time grand slam victor was banned for 2 years for using meldonium, but the penalty was reduced to 15 months on appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport which ruled she was not an intentional doper. "Nothing is a disappointment after being away for 15 months".

Mladenovic said before the pair's meeting in April that "all the other players are saying she (Sharapova) is a cheater", in comments carried by The Guardian. Lucic-Baroni defeated Radwanska once again in Miami but she lost to Pliskova, who gained revenge for that loss in Melbourne.

Sharapova's return had divided opinion in the sport and several players had reacted angrily to the Russian being invited to those events.

Giudicelli added: "Nobody can deprive her of her two titles here in Roland Garros, but these two titles she had conquered them according to the rules and behold nothing to anyone". "I got straight to her answering machine three times and I left her a message", he said.

Sam Querrey eliminated Lucas Pouille, a semifinalist past year, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (8). Fellow players have shamed her and blasted tennis officials for facilitating her smooth passage back into the sport, and journalists have constantly been asking prickly questions about her delicate situation.

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