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Sharapova Reaches Porsche Grand Quarterfinal After Return from Doping Ban

Russia's Maria Sharapova at the WTA tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova has reached the Porsche Grand Prix quarterfinals while two-time reigning champion Angelique Kerber crashed out in front of a disappointed German home crowd.

Sharapova defeated fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova 7-5, 6-1 on April 27 in her second match since the expiration of a 15-month doping ban imposed after she tested positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.

The top seed, Kerber, was out of the running after a 6-2, 7-5 loss to French player Kristina Mladenic.

Sharapova's success came less than 24 hours after she had returned to the court with a first-round victory over Italy's Roberta Vinci.

"Being in the quarterfinals here again is quite special," she said. "There's nothing like being in a tournament."

Sharapova shrugged off criticism from Canadian player Eugenie Bouchard, who said that the Russian star was "a cheater" and should have been banned for life over her doping offense.

"I'm way above that. I don't need to comment on that," she said.

Based on reporting by dpa and AP