Maria Sharapova to face an opponent who has called her "a cheat"

Eugenie Bouchard has been outspoken in her views of Sharapova's comeback

BY Daniel Kelly 08:19 Monday 8 May 2017, 8:19 8 May 2017

Maria Sharapova (right) and Eugenie Bouchard ahead of their 2014 French Open semi-final. Photo by Corinne Dubreuil/ABACAPRESS.COM

Maria Sharapova's return to tennis is continuing at the Madrid Open, where she has been drawn against one of her biggest detractors.

Sharapova won her first match in the Spanish capital on Sunday, and will now face Eugenie Bouchard on Monday evening in the Second Round. Bouchard has previously said that Sharapova should not have been allowed return to the sport.

"She's a cheater and so to me", Bouchard said last month, before Sharapova's return from her 15-month ban for using Meldonium in last year's Australian Open. "I don't think a cheater in any sport should be allowed to play that sport again. It's so unfair to all the other players who do it the right way and are true.

"I think from the WTA it sends the wrong message to young kids. 'Cheat and we'll welcome you back with open arms.' I don't think that's right and [she's] definitely not someone I can say I look up to anymore. It ruined it for me a little bit."

Sharapova defeated Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in three sets to book her place in the Second Round, while Bouchard beat Alize Cornet to reach the Round of 32.

The duo have previously played each other on four occasions, with Sharapova winning each match against the Canadian. Bouchard has won only one set in the four matches.

It may only be a match in the Round of 32 at the Madrid Masters, but the Bouchard-Sharapova battle could be one of the most heated matches of 2017.

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