Sharapova storms into Tianjin quarterfinals

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Maria Sharapova of Russia hits a return against Magda Linette of Poland during their women’s singles second round match at the WTA Tianjin Open tennis tournament in Tianjin on Thursday. AFP PHOTO

TIANJIN, China: Maria Sharapova surged into the Tianjin Open quarterfinals on Thursday as she pursues her first tournament victory since her return from a doping ban.

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The Russian former world number one defeated Magda Linette of Poland 7-5, 6-3 and will next play either Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele or fifth seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan.

The 30-year-old Sharapova has been on the comeback trail since April after serving a 15-month suspension for taking the banned substance meldonium.

Sharapova, a five-time major-winner, is now ranked a lowly 86 in the world and she needed a wildcard to enter the Tianjin tournament.

She saw off 71st-ranked Linette in just over 98 minutes to reach only her second quarterfinals since her return to action.

AFP

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