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Sharapova Loses In Semifinals In First Tournament Since End of 15-Month Ban


Maria Sharapova in Stuttgart

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova lost in the semifinals of the Porsche Grand Prix, her first tournament appearance since the expiration of a 15-month doping ban imposed after she tested positive for meldonium.

Sharapova, a former world No. 1 player, on April 29 lost to Kristina Mladenovic of France 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the Stuttgart event.

France’s Mladenovic has been a leading critic of Sharapova's return to the courts, having accused her of getting "extra help" by receiving wild-card bids to play at Stuttgart, along with upcoming tournaments in Madrid and Rome.

"The way I played, I was really happy with that,” Sharapova, 30, said after the match. “You are never sure what level you are going to come onto the court with, but I feel this is a great base with which I started here."

"If at the start of the week, I'd said I'd be in this position, I'd be pretty happy with that," she said.

Mladenovic, ranked 19th in the world, will face Germany's Laura Siegemund in the April 30 final in Stuttgart.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP and dpa
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