Maria Sharapova to miss the rest of the 2018 season
Maria Sharapova to miss the rest of the 2018 season

Maria Sharapova has opted to curtail her 2018 season and will withdraw from the three remaining tournaments she had planned to participate in this year.

The Russian will forgo tournaments in Beijing and Moscow, as well as in Tianjin where she is the defending champion, to rest and recover ahead of next season, according to the New York Times.

She will make her return to the court at the Shenzhen Open in January next year – a tournament in which she reached the semifinal stage earlier this season.

Mixed fortunes

That proved to be one of the Russian’s more productive weeks on tour, rivaled only by her semifinal appearance at the Internazionale BNL d’Italia in May.

She impressed on the clay this year and reached the quarterfinals of the French Open, where she was downed in straight sets by Garbine Muguruza. She had been scheduled to meet Serena Williams in a mouthwatering fourth round clash, but the American withdrew on the day of the match. 

Elsewhere, she suffered a shock opening round loss at Wimbledon to Vitalia Diatchenko before being outsmarted by Carla Suarez Navarro in the fourth round at the US Open. 

Sharapova has not reached the last four of a Grand Slam since Wimbledon in 2015, with her last major title coming at Roland Garros the previous year.

Sharapova will finish her season with a 20-11 record on tour (Image source: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America)

Return from suspension

The Russian was banned for 15 months – originally two years but shortened on appeal – for testing positive to the banned substance meldonium.

The five-time Grand Slam champion returned to the tour in April 2017, but she suffered a thigh injury in Rome which precluded her involvement in the grass season. 

At the US Open later that year she claimed her biggest victory since her comeback, ousting then world number two Simona Halep in an enthralling first round match under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium. However, her ambitions of reclaiming the crown in Flushing Meadows were thwarted by Anastasija Sevastova in the fourth round.