Injury-plagued Sharapova takes wild card into Wuhan Open

by: Matt Cronin | September 21, 2015

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The world No. 3 has not competed since reaching the semifinals of Wimbledon. (AP Photo)

Maria Sharapova has accepted a wild card into next week's Wuhan Open. The 28-year-old was forced to pull out of Toronto, Cincinnati and the U.S. Open with a leg injury, and hasn't competed since Wimbledon. 

“I’ve been working hard to get myself ready to compete again and I can't wait to get back out,” the five-time Grand Slam champion said in a statement. 

Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki, and Ana Ivanovic are also scheduled to play Wuhan. Last year in Wuhan, Sharapova lost in the second round to Timea Bacsinszky.

Sharapova says she is close to feeling 100 percent following a frequently interrupted but still fairly strong 2015 season. The Russian started the year by winning Brisbane and reaching the Australian Open final. She won both of her Fed Cup matches against Poland, but then pulled out of the semifinals of Acapulco with an illness. In March, she lost in the third round of Indian Wells against recent U.S. Open champion Flavia Pennetta; in Miami, she was injured before the tournament began and lost in the first round.

During the clay-court season, Sharapova reached the semifinals in Madrid and won the title in Rome, but then lost to eventual finalist Lucie Safarova in the fourth round of Roland Garros. At Wimbledon, she reached the semifinals, falling to Serena Williams.

Sharapova is also scheduled to play Beijing and has already qualified for the WTA Finals in Singapore. Russia will face the Czech Republic in the Fed Cup final in Prague on November 14-15, and Sharapova will have to play in order to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.

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