The 30-year-old Russian, who has won five Grand Slams and is
among the highest-paid athletes in the world, returned to action
on Wednesday with a straight sets win over Roberta Vinci
following her suspension for the use of banned substance
She has yet to drop a set in Stuttgart where she has won the
title three times.
"I settled down a bit (compared to Wednesday). I executed a
great plan today and I was really glad I pulled that off,"
Sharapova told reporters.
"Practicing is so different to matches, you cannot compare it.
You just have to trust the work you have put in. It's great to
come out and play matches. Being in the quarter-finals again is
Sharapova, who had tested positive for the banned substance at
the 2016 Australian Open, picked up where she had left off
against Vinci, powering through her first two service games
without dropping a point but struggling somewhat with her return
Makarova cleverly mixed up the height and depth of her shots
during rallies on the very quick Stuttgart clay with Sharapova
still lacking match practice.
Makarova wasted her only break opportunity at 5-5 and Sharapova
never looked back. She earned her first break points a game
later, powering a crosscourt forehand winner to grab the first
She broke Makarova twice in the second set to race 5-1 ahead and
served out the match with an ace to set up a quarter-final clash
against Estonian qualifier Anett Kontaveit
Sharapova received a wild card for the tournament, having lost
all her ranking points in the wake of her suspension, and she
has also been invited to play in Madrid and Rome - moves that
have angered some players.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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