Sadly, Maria did not compete yestreday in the second round of the Bank of the West Classic tournament as she was forced to withdrew. In her official statement, Maria said:
Unfortunately, I have to withdraw from today’s match. Toward the end of the Monday night’s match, I felt pain in my left forearm. After yesterday’s scan, the doctor has recommended I don’t risk further injury. Monday night’s crowd was so special and I wish I could continue playing but I have to make a preventative decision.
Update: Not only Stanford, but Maria also withdrew from Rogers Cup which is taking place next week in Toronto due to the injury. Hopefully, it is really a preventive decision and she will be back for the US Open grand slam.
Finally! after couple of months without tournaments, Maria is back playing. Her first tournament since Rome, where she was forced to retire in the second round due to an injury, is Stanford – The Bank of the West Classic. It is is the longest-running women-only tennis tournament in the world and also the first stop of the US Open Series. It took three sets, but Maria won the match with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 score over American Jennifer Brady in the opening round. Next oponent will be the seventh-seeded Lesia Tsurenko and according to the schedule, Maria should play on Wednesday (daytime session).
When you are a baby, everything looks oversize! Want to become a baby again, just for one night? Yesterday, Maria joined the Evian oversize party to introduce the new Evian water campaigne. Not only Maria joined the launch together with another tennis ambassador Madison Keys, but she also took over evian instagram so if you have it, check their account.
Sadly, yestreday was not a good one for Maria and SharaFamily. Fisrtly, Maria was forced to retire from her match with Lucic-Baroni due to the left thigh injury in the third set. It was really painful to watch her stopping, because the match was going Maria’s way – she lost the first set 4-6, but won the second 6-3 and was leading in the third with a break. Hopefully, it is not a serious injury and Maria will recover quickly. However, the bad news seem to come in pack, don’t they? The second one came from the French Tennis Federation which decided to deny Maria a wildcard into this year’s French Open. This means she won’t be able to play, not even the qualifying of the tournament. The president of FTF Bernard Giudicelli said “I’m very sorry for Maria, very sorry for her fans. They might be disappointed; she might be very disappointed. But it’s my responsibility, it’s my mission, to protect the game and protect the high standards of the game. While there can be a wild card for return from injury, there can’t be a wild card for return from doping.” The WTA CEO Steve Simon said he disagreed with the French federation’s reasoning. “She has complied with the sanction imposed, There are no grounds for any member of the (tennis anti-doping program) to penalize any player beyond the sanctions set forth in the final decision resolving these matters.”
In my opinion, the decision is wrong on many levels, especially considering the CAS report and its conclusion. It clearly stated that Maria was not an intentional doper in any circumstances, yet the federation seems to ignore the court and make their own judgement. Maria served her punishement and this feels like a further penalization, nothing more. And the idea of protecting the game? Well, lets just point out that a French player who is serving a ban for illegal betting received the wildcard. Double standards? It is a rought time for Maria, not just with the decision, but all the comments as well, but I have no doubt she will keep on fighting and won’t give up. There are many fans who stand with Maria and we’ll continue to support her no matter how many obstacles they will throw at Maria.
During her stay in Rome, Maria visited one of the most famous historical objects in the city – Colosseum – and not only she posed inside the Flavian Amphitheatre, but also played a bit of tennis with a Czech player Tomáš Berdych. WTA captured her Maria’s visit in a short video, plus you can look at couple of photos in the gallery.
Maria has already played her first match in Rome today and it was a successful one! She beated Christina McHale 6-4, 6-2 and although the first set was very tight with many breaks, she really stepped it up in the second and in an hour and half made her way into the 2nd round. There, Maria will play Lucic-Baroni again, the match should start tomorrow at 7pm local time on center court. As usually, the highlights from the match are on YouTube and Maria’s press conference is available on the WTA facebook page (and YouTube as well). Also by winning the match, Maria jumped in the WTA ranking to n. 171 and secured a spot in the Wimbledon qualifying in case she does not receive a WC.
The Mutua Madrid Open tournament has started and yesterday, Maria came through the 1st round when she beated M. Lucic-Baroni 4-6, 6-4, 6-0. It was quite a battle, especially in the second set, but Maria (once again) proved she is a fighter and won’t give up. In the next round, Maria will play G. Bouchard – the match starts today (8.5.) at 8pm local time.
Maria is officialy back! <3 and in a great form. Three competitive matches in 3 days = 3 victories and without even dropping a set, Maria is in the semifinals of Stuttgart tournament. On Wednesday (long awaited April 26), Maria played against Roberta Vinci and won 7:5, 6:4. Yestreday, she beated a fellow Russian player E. Makarova 7:5, 6:1 and today she made her way into semifinals by beating the qualifier Anett Kontaveit 6:3, 6:4. What a comeback! Maria has been playing amazing tennis so far and seems to be improving with every other match, The results just speak for itself and they are a perfect response towards all the comments and media attention Maria has been receiving lately. Tomorrow, she will face K. Mladenovic for the spot in final. And by the way, thanks to those 3 victories, Maria is already around 260 place in the WTA ranking. You can watch all the highlights from matches on the WTA YouTube Channel + their facebook page streamed all Maria’s press conferences as well. Pictures from the last three days are in the gallery: matches, press and training; each has its own folder. Tomorrow’s match is scheduled at around 4pm on centre court.