Former China Open champion Maria Sharapova handed main draw wildcard

Sharapova, who won the title at the tournament in 2014, will be making her seventh appearance at the tournament, which is held in Beijing.

Former China Open champion Maria Sharapova handed main draw wildcard
Maria Sharapova won the China Open title back in 2014 (Getty/Chris Hyde)

Former world number one Maria Sharapova has been handed a wildcard spot into the China Open, the tournament has announced.

Sharapova, who has received wildcards from several tournaments following her return to the sport in April after a 15-month ban, won the title at the tournament back in 2014 and will be looking for a similar result when she makes her seventh appearance at the tournament later this year.

Maria Sharapova in action in Madrid (Getty/Julian Finney)
Maria Sharapova in action in Madrid (Getty/Julian Finney)

The tournament in Beijing has become the latest big tournament to hand the Russian, a five-time Grand Slam champion, a main draw wildcard. Sharapova received wildcards into both the Mutua Madrid Open and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia during the clay court season, and also received a wildcard into this week’s Rogers Cup, though was forced to withdraw due to injury. She is next set to be in action at the Western and Southern Open next week, where she also received a wildcard.

Sharapova set to continue return over Asian hard court swing

The Russian’s return to tennis after her ban hasn’t exactly gone to plan so far, with her attempts to play largely hindered by injury problems, though the Russian will be looking to be fit and ready by the time the Asian swing comes around.

Sharapova beat Petra Kvitova to take the China Open title three years ago (Getty/Chris Hyde)
Sharapova beat Petra Kvitova to take the China Open title three years ago (Getty/Chris Hyde)

Having already received a wildcard into the Tianjin Open, another tournament in China later in the year, the Russian will now be in action at the China Open; one of the biggest and most significant tournaments on the WTA Tour, with 1000 points available for the eventual champion. Sharapova lost in the final to Victoria Azarenka in 2012, though beat Petra Kvitova to take the title in 2014 and will be looking for a similar result this time around.

This season will mark the first time since 2014 that the former world number one will be in action during the main part of the Asian swing. Sharapova wasn’t in action last year due to her 15-month suspension due to a failed drugs test, whilst in 2015 she missed virtually all the second half of the season due to injury; she returned at the WTA Finals after last playing at Wimbledon.


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