WTA Tianjin Open: Maria Sharapova beats Shuai Peng to reach final


And if she manages to follow it up with success at this week's Kremlin Cup, the 30-year-old Russian will have rounded off 2017 by sounding an ominous warning to rivals for next season.

Maria Sharapova won her first tournament since serving a 15-month ban for doping when she beat Aryna Sabalenka yesterday in the final of the Tianjin Open yesterday.

Sharapova improved to 36-23 in career finals.

The statuesque former world number one reached the Stuttgart semis but she retired in the Italian Open second round and also withdrew from her second-round match at Stanford.

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It has taken almost six months after she made her comeback from a ban for a doping offence, but Maria Sharapova has got her hands on her first WTA Tour title since the spring of 2015.

Sharapova, who described her ban from tennis as 'unfairly harsh, ' broke Peng's serve in her first game and dominated the first set from the back line. Prior to Wimbledon she played primarily ITF events, and lost in the qualifying of three of the four Grand Slams this year.

Her last title was at Rome in 2015.

Sharapova, now ranked 86th, has also been handed a wildcard for next week s Kremlin Cup in Moscow, which she will play for the first time since 2007.

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