Heather Watson and Dominika Cibulkova have expressed their unhappiness after Maria Sharapova was handed a wild card paving the way for the return of the Russian tennis star after serving a 15-month ban for doping. The 29-year-old's ban will end effectively two days after the 2017 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix kick-starts on 24 April. Sharapova's return to next month's tournament in Stuttgart was confirmed by the Women Tennis Association (WTA).
The third seed has been sidelined by a right leg injury that forced him to concede a walkover in the Delray Beach Open final last month and withdraw from the Mexican Open and the BNP Paribas Open. "I have to be very happy with just the outcome, that I was able to get the win today, that I have another chance to play in two days,” said world number five Raonic. Joining the Canadian into the third round were Spanish fifth seed Rafa Nadal and Japanese second seed Kei Nishikori.
The Croatian wild card, who led Russia's 13th-seeded Vesnina 5-3 in the third set on Thursday when a thunderstorm halted play, returned on Friday and cashed in on her third match point to secure a spot in the third round. French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, whose opening match on Thursday was also interrupted, fared better than Vesnina after her night's sleep. The sixth-seeded Spaniard, who trailed 46th-ranked American Christina McHale 6-0 3-2 when play was suspended Thursday, escaped a match point in the tiebreak and emerged with an 0-6 7-6(6) 6-4 victory.