News broke out earlier in the day that Maria Sharapova has officially accepted a wildcard into the Kremlin Cup, which is held in Moscow. This would be the Russian’s first tournament in her home country since 2007, which was also coincidentally her last appearance here in Moscow.
It would be much of a delight to the tennis fans in Russia, who will certainly be intrigued by Sharapova’s rare appearance in Russia. This will also be Sharapova’s last tournament of the year, and she will look to end off the year on a high note.
Being a huge inspiration to many children in Russia, Sharapova’s participation in the Kremlin Cup would be a good news to both the tournament in terms of ticket sales and herself, as she would want to extend her good run of form.
The Russian has recently reached the third round of the China Open, surviving the tough challenge of Anastasija Sevastova in three tough sets before ousting compatriot Ekaterina Makarova in the second round. However, she was totally outclassed by eventual world number one Simona Halep, only managing to win just four games.
Sharapova is also currently participating at the Tianjin Open, where she reached her second semifinal of the year. She will go up against Peng Shuai in the last four after claiming three consecutive straight-sets victories for the first time since Stuttgart.
Previous results at the Kremlin Cup
Sharapova’s first appearance came all the way back in 2005 when she played in the tournament as the world number one. However, she exited earlier than expected as she struggled through the competition, eventually falling to compatriot Dinara Safina in the quarterfinals.
The Russian returned to the tournament in 2006 but also achieved the same result as she was unable to find her groove on the indoor courts of Moscow, having to withdraw from the tournament due to a right-foot injury. Sharapova’s last appearance in Moscow came in 2007 when she was surprisingly defeated the future world number one and rival Victoria Azarenka in straight sets. This will be Sharapova’s first participation in any Russian tournament in the past 10 years.
Sharapova will be one of the most dangerous unseeded players looming in the draw and will be one of the few players whom the seeded players would want to avoid in the early rounds. The 2017 Kremlin Cup will start tomorrow with the qualifying competition beginning action before the main draw action kicks off on Monday.
NOTE: It has also just been announced that Sharapova will play her first match on Tuesday night