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Bouchard knocks off Sharapova in Madrid

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MADRID (AP) – Motivated more than usual, Eugenie Bouchard used her game to send a message to Maria Sharapova by defeating the Russian 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 in a thrilling second-round match at the Madrid Open on Monday.

Bouchard, one of the most outspoken players against Sharapova’s return to tennis following a doping ban, jumped up and down after converting her second match point in just under three hours.

The players casually shook hands at the net and exchanged brief plaudits.

It was their first meeting since Bouchard called Sharapova a cheater and said she should have been banned for life from the sport after testing positive for meldonium at last year’s Australian Open.

“I definitely had some extra motivation going into today,’’ Bouchard said. “I was actually quite inspired before the match because I had a lot of players coming up to me privately wishing me good luck, players I don’t normally speak to, getting a lot of texts from people in the tennis world that were just rooting for me. So I wanted to do it for myself, but also all these people. I really felt support.

“It showed me that most people have my opinion, and they were just maybe scared to speak out.’’

There were no major signs of animosity between them. They went about their business, not paying too much attention to each other in between points.

Bouchard defeated Sharapova for the first time by taking advantage of the Russian’s 49 unforced errors and struggles on serve, including nine double faults. The 60th-ranked Canadian had 21 break opportunities, converting five of them.

The Madrid Open is only the second tournament for Sharapova since serving a 15-month suspension. The five-time Grand Slam champion reached the Stuttgart semifinals last month. She received a wild card there, and a wild card here. Most players were against her receiving free entry without having to qualify.

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