Maria Sharapova Wins First Title Since Drugs Ban

Five-time Grand Slam winner, Maria Sharapova, weathered a strong challenge from teenager Aryna Sabalenka to win her first title since her 15-month doping ban at the Tianjin Open on Sunday.

The former world number one, who returned to action in April, came from behind in both sets and needed four match points in the tie-breaker before beating the 19-year-old 7-5, 7-6 (10/8).

Sharapova, 30, was contesting the seventh tournament of what has been an injury-plagued and controversial comeback since testing positive for the banned substance meldonium in early 2016.

Sharapova, whose ranking has dropped to 86, has been playing on wildcards this season. Her return has proved divisive, with some rivals insisting she shouldn’t be back on tour at all.

She now heads to next week’s Kremlin Cup in Moscow for the first time since 2007, after also being given a wildcard to play in what is her home tournament.