Maria Sharapova is set to feature at the Mutua Madrid Open after receiving a wildcard for the WTA Event and the Russian is set for a grudge Second Round match as she races against time for a place in Wimbledon without any need for a Wild Card.
If Sharapova gets through the Opening Round, she will meet either Eugenie Bouchard or Alize Cornet, both of whom have opposed to her getting wildcards after her comeback from a doping ban, Bouchard above anyone else.
But for that to happen, Sharapova would have to get past fellow Russian, World No.16 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, which will not be an easy task.
Last week Bouchard, who has been struggling for form, said she thought that Sharapova should have been banned for life after testing positive for Meldonium.
Frenchwoman Cornet has also been critical of some at the WTA Tour who have shown support for Sharapova on her comeback.
The Russian needs to reach the Third Round in Madrid to guarantee featuring in the Wimbledon Qualifying Rounds without a wildcard. She needs to make the Final to get into the SW19 Main Draw without any requirement for a wild card.
After Madrid she has one more event, in Rome, to try and boost her ranking before the Wimbledon ‘cut-off’.