Sport Tennis Sharapova to meet critic Bouchard at Madrid Open
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Sharapova to meet critic Bouchard at Madrid Open

maria Sharapova and amelie bouchard composite
Maria Sharapova will meet one of her harshest critics in Amelie Bouchard in the second round of the Madrid Open.
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Maria Sharapova will face her strongest critic, Eugenie Bouchard, in the second round of the Madrid Open on Monday.

Less than two weeks after Bouchard called Sharapova a cheat and said she should be banned for life from the sport following her anti-doping violation, the pair will face off in a grudge match.

Bouchard booked her place in round two on Saturday with her first tour-level win since January and Sharapova set up the anticipated show down with a 4-6 6-4 6-0 victory over veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

It was another encouraging performance from Sharapova as she continues her comeback from a 15-month ban, and she is happy to let her tennis do the talking.

The five-time Grand Slam champion told reporters in Madrid: “If everything affects you on and off the court, I think that would be a really challenging position to be in. It’s not the way I think”.

“My tennis speaks for itself, and that’s what I focus on.”

It is no surprise to see the contest scheduled in the prime-time slot of the first evening match on Manolo Santana stadium.

On a busy day of action, there were mixed results for Australian tennis.

Samantha Stosur showed some of her best claycourt form to quickly dispatch Spanish wildcard Sara Sorribes Torbo 6-2 6-0 in under an hour.

Stosur imposed her will on the 20-year-old to break her six times in the match.

But while Stosur looked good fellow Australian Daria Gavrilova again had problems on serve and coughed up seven double faults, three of those in the final set, to lose 7-5 5-7 6-2 to American teenager Catherine Bellis.

Also through to the second round is top seed Angelique Kerber, who beat Hungarian Timea Babos 6-4 6-2, while eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova was also untroubled in a 6-4 6-3 win over Yaroslava Shvedova.

There was also a win for defending champion Simona Halep but another body blow for French Open champion Garbine Muguruza.

The Spaniard has struggled since winning her maiden grand slam in fine style in Paris last year and here she was beaten 6-1 6-3 by Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland.

Kerber has also not had the best season but eased to a 6-4 6-2 win over Timea Babos while Halep thumped Kristyna Pliskova 6-1 6-2.

Caroline Wozniacki came through the second longest match on the WTA Tour so far this season, needing three hours and 27 minutes to defeat Romania’s Monica Niculescu 7-5 6-7 (7-3) 6-4.

Fourth seed Dominika Cibulkova won the final match of the day 6-4 5-7 7-5 against Jelena Jankovic while there were also wins for eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, in-form Kristina Mladenovic and 18-year-old American Cici Bellis.