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With Bouchard labelling Sharapova "a cheater" and reportedly speaking against her return from a 15-month-long drug ban, the match between the two in Madrid is one of the highly anticipated tennis fixtures of the week.

Maria Sharapova has overcome Mirjana Lucic-Baroni to set up a meeting with Eugenie Bouchard in the second round of the Madrid Open.

Bouchard called the Russian "a cheater" last week and suggested she should have been banned for life - rather than 15 months - after testing positive for meldonium at the 2015 Australian Open.

"I don't think that's right and (Sharapova is) definitely not someone I can say I look up to anymore".

Caroline Wozniacki had a tougher time, but the 10th seed eventually overcame Monica Niculescu 7-5, 6-7 (3/7), 6-4 after almost three-and-a-half hours on court. I've heard a lot of things.

Playing the fifth match of her comeback, Sharapova converted seven of 19 break points and exploited eight double faults from the Australian Open semifinalist. "And, like this one, it was extremely tough-not many rallies, she forced me to come out with some of my good tennis, and I really had to dig deep".

Bouchard, who on Sunday won her first main-draw match since January, has said Sharapova's return was "unfair to all the other players who do it the right way".

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"You know, I wasn't really happy with my percentage of serve in the first couple of sets". It's not the way I think. But then there's a little bit more around. "She plays from the backhand court, I from the forehand.We get along well off the court too", she told Mirror, adding that the two want "to have some fun on court as well".

The victor will most likely face top seed and world No. 2 Angelique Kerber of Germany. I mean, the breakpoints, I missed a couple of second-serve returns. But in the end, Sharapova would not be denied as the Russian quickly righted the ship and broke back at the flawless time, finally converting her fifth set point to take the set, 6-4, and send the match to a decider.

Pointing to Bouchard's aggressive style of stepping in to take the ball on the rise, Sharapova said she expect a match of first-strike tennis.

Fourth seed Dominika Cibulkova won the final match of the day 6-4 5-7 7-5 against Jelena Jankovic while there were also wins for eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, in-form Kristina Mladenovic and 18-year-old American Cici Bellis.

World No. 2 Angelique Kerber eased into round two with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Hungary's Timea Babos. "I got a better read on her serve, as well". Obviously my first title on clay as well. Defending champion Simona Halep cruised past Kristyna Pliskova 6-1, 6-2.

"I can't believe it", Barthel said.


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