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» Maria Sharapova wins first WTA title since drugs ban at the Tianjin Open
Maria Sharapova wins first WTA title since drugs ban at the Tianjin Open
Maria Sharapova won her first WTA title since returning from a drugs ban as she fought back in both sets to beat Aryna Sabalenka 7-5 7-6 (10-8) at the Tianjin Open.
The Russian made a comeback to the tour in April following a 15-month ban for taking the banned substance meldonium, having tested positive at the 2016 Australian Open.
And after an injury-hit year, she has now lifted her first crown since her return in what was a battling win.
World No. 102 Sabalenka of Belarus stood in her path and the 19-year-old led 4-1 and 5-1 in the first and second sets respectively.
But the five-time Grand Slam champion clawed her way back into it twice to secure the title in dramatic fashion.
The win will give the 30-year-old world No. 86 hope that she is getting back to her best, in what’s been a difficult return, while she will rise to 57 in the rankings.
After being refused a wildcard at the French Open, Sharapova was injured for the grass-court season, missing Wimbledon in the process.
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