Sharapova confirms China Open appearance

Former world number one Maria Sharapova has confirmed she will compete at the China Open in September.

The Russian superstar won the China Open in 2014 is is eager to return to Asia for what will be her first event in the East since returning from her 15-month doping ban.  

"Hello, my SharaFamily in China," said the five-time grand slam winner in a statement. 

"I'm very happy to announce that I will return to Beijing and play the China Open. This is especially exciting as it will be my first tournament in Asia this year. 

"Whenever I play in Beijing, my SharaFamily always shows me such great support. I will never forget the last time I won the title in 2014, and how much you cheered for me on the Diamond Court. I am so grateful for your support, and look forward to seeing you soon."

Sunday FunDay ☕️

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Sharapova, currently ranked 171st, is well outside the qualifying bracket for the event that extents invitations to the top 47 WTA players. However, tournament officials revealed they will hand Sharapova a wildcard entry if her ranking does not meet the requirements.   

The China Open is one of the biggest tournaments in Asia, with world number one Andy Murray and 15-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal are expected to play in the men's draw on 24 September.