Genie Bouchard Defeats Maria Sharapova in 1st Match Since Calling Her 'Cheater'

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I want to maybe rest my brain a little bit, not think about [the match] too much for tomorrow.

Battling a lukewarm welcome by the 4,500 spectators, the Russian won her first match on her return from a 15-month doping ban.

While Sharapova was clearly looking to respond with her game, she needed to save two break points in the fifth game but broke Bouchard in the sixth with a brutal forehand victor to lead 4-2.

She also threw shade at the nature of the veteran's return to the court, calling it a "so-called comeback". I know that I can comeback and win matches like that when I'm down.

Genie Bouchard has a huge challenge now to progress further in the Madrid Open, as she faces the No 1 seeded women's singles player, Angelique Kerber, in the third round on Wednesday May 10. "That's what's going to win me more tournaments and more grand slams". That is what is going to make me a better player.

On Monday, Bouchard faced Sharapova at the Madrid Open, which was an awkward scene to say the least.

"There's kind of an eeriness about the tournament", added Sharapova. She played her first tournament after the ban in Stuttgart last month, being eliminated in the semifinals by 17th-ranked Kristina Mladenovic of France.

"I feel like it's still a learning experience, and it's still just getting back in the groove and understanding what I need to work on and improve, " she said.

Bouchard had admitted earlier that she hoped to be pitted against Sharapova.

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But not to be outdone, Bouchard suddenly found a new gear and responded with a break of her own in the next game, breaking at the third time of asking with her trademark aggression to get back on serve.

The Canadian hit out at the five-time Grand Slam victor last month, claiming that she should be banned from the sport for life after testing positive for heart drug meldonium past year.

"She is a cheater and so, to me, I don't think a cheater in any sport should be allowed to play that sport again", Bouchard told Turkish broadcaster TRT World at the Istanbul Cup.

She soon tweeted her delight at defeating Sharapova, mirroring Danielle Bregoli, the "Cash Me Outside" girl who became an internet sensation after her appearance on Dr Phil in September 2016.

The decider was a sapping affair, with each player coming from 0-40 down to avoid being broken - in Sharapova's case, the Russian did it in successive service games.

Bouchard prevailed in the end, and their handshake at the net was cordial, with Sharapova saying "well played".

According to the Daily Telegraph, there were "no major signs of animosity" during the match, although it notes the Canadian "jumped up and down" in celebration after converting her second match point.

In the men's tournament, ninth-seeded David Goffin of Belgium defeated Karen Khachanov of Russian Federation 6-2, 7-6 (8), and Fabio Fognini of Italy beat Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-4, 6-4 to set up a second-round match against Rafael Nadal.