Sharapova Out of Qatar Open

Five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova suffered a shocking defeat in the first round of the Qatar Open on Monday, as she was dumped out in three sets by outsider, Monica Niculescu.

The Romanian, ranked number 92 in the world, 51 places behind the Russian, won 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

In a match which lasted more than two and a half hours had  Sharapova hitting 52 unforced errors as opposed to just 17 from Niculescu.

And she could also convert only six of 15 break points.

The former world number one, twice a winner in Doha, had been given a wildcard into the draw and was one the tournament’s major attractions.

“I did a good job of winning the longer rallies, even though that’s not really what I wanted to get myself into,” said Sharapova afterwards.

“So, physically I felt good. I just got pretty passive in the end and starting making too many errors.”

It was the 30-year-old’s first appearance in Doha since 2013 and her first match since losing to Angelique Kerber in the third round of the Australian Open last month.

Sharapova Has Made An Impressive Start In Tianjin Opener

Maria Sharapova made a remarkable start to the Tianjin Open on Wednesday, beating Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu in straight sets.

Sharapova seeded ninth, Begu loomed as a tricky first-round opponent for Sharapova, but the former world number one from Russia swept to a 6-4, 6-2 victory.

Currently ranked 86th after returning from a 15-month doping ban, Sharapova — granted a wildcard in Tianjin — plays unseeded Magda Linette of Poland next.

The 30-year-old Sharapova, who returned to tennis in April after serving a suspension for taking the banned substance meldonium, has yet to win a tournament since then.

The five-time Grand Slam winner exited the China Open last week in the third round at the hands of Romania’s Simona Halep, the newly crowned world number one.

But Sharapova had no such trouble against Begu, seeing off the 57th-ranked Romanian in 82 minutes.

The opening matches of the Tianjin Open have been badly disrupted because of rain.

Sharapova Cheers Nadal On Twitter, Fights Off Criticism

The Russian professional Tennis player Maria sharapova, always heavily spoke about Rafael Nadal, also when the Spaniard player went through two bad seasons in a row in 2015 and 2016. Through her official Twitter account, the Russian player hit back at criticism towards her and Nadal too.

A tennis fan tweeted: ‘Everyone goes on about the noise Sharapova makes, but Nadal, great player though he is, is equally annoying with his grunting.’ Sharapova didn’t wait too long to answer this criticism and replied: ‘The guy just won his 16th major (!!!) and this is your choice of tweet?’

Nadal also won his first hard-court title since Doha 2014 final, ending a 34-losing tournaments streak on hard courts.

Sharapova Announces Failure Of Drug Test, Loses First Deal As Nike Dumps Her

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova said on Monday she had failed a drug test at the Australian Open due to a substance she was taking for health issues, leading longtime sponsor Nike to announce it was suspending ties during the investigation, Reuters reports.

The 28-year-old Sharapova, a five-time grand slam champion and the highest paid woman in sports, will be provisionally suspended starting March 12, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said.

She is the seventh athlete in a month to test positive for meldonium, which is used to treat diabetes and low magnesium, and was only banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as of Jan. 1.

“I made a huge mistake. I let my fans down and I let the sport down,” said Sharapova, a teenage tennis prodigy who became the third-youngest Wimbledon champion. “I take full responsibility for it.”

“I know that with this I face consequences and I don’t want to end my career this way. I really hope that I will be given another chance to play this game,” former world number one Sharapova told a news conference in a downtown Los Angeles hotel.

Nike, the world’s largest sportswear maker, said it was “saddened and surprised” by the news and released a statement saying it was putting ties on hold with the player.

“We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues,” it said.

The ITF’s anti-doping program calls for a four-year suspension for a positive test, but that ban can be reduced in various circumstances, such as for first-time offences or if the player shows no significant fault or negligence.

If a player bears no fault or negligence, there is no suspension.