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Monday, October 16, 2017

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.