Granted a wild card into the Premier tournament in Cincinnati this week, Maria Sharapova actually got to Ohio.
The reason is the forearm injury that led to her withdrawal from Stanford after her first match two weeks ago. She then withdrew from the Rogers Cup in Toronto, where she also was granted a wild card.
Here’s the official Sharapova quote from the tournament.
“I arrived in Cincinnati yesterday eager to play. However, following the doctor’s advice on-site, as a precaution for the US Open, I am unfortunately withdrawing from the tournament with the left forearm injury I sustained in Stanford. I want to thank the tournament for the wildcard opportunity and really look forward to competing here next year.”
No doubt Sharapova’s doctors in California would have said the same thing. But that’s how the protocol on these things go.
Low on match play
To say the least, Sharapova’s comeback after serving a 15-month doping suspension hasn’t gone the way she – or her many fans – had hoped or planned.
To sum up, the 30-year-old Russian has played just one match since the beginning of May in Rome. She has played just nine since her return in late April in Stuttgart – and four of those came in that first tournament back.
Despite that 6-3 record, she has taken her ranking from infinity to No. 149.
Sharapova must be fairly confident that she will be granted a wild card at the US Open, which she would need to play in the main draw – if indeed she is fit enough to play by then.
It will be a challenge to perform after having played just one match in the preceding four months. Then again, she came back in Stuttgart after 15 months and reached the semi-finals on pure grit and adrenaline.
The US Open wild cards won’t be officially announced until next week. Sharapova is officially entered in the qualifying draw.
She was to have played young French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the first round in Cincinnati – a tasty prospect. Now, Ostapenko will play a qualifier or lucky loser.