Maria Sharapova hits back at Andy Murray and other critics

Maria Sharapova reached her second semi-final since returning from suspension and will face home favourite Peng Shuai in the last four.

Maria Sharapova has hit back at criticism from Andy Murray regarding her doping ban, claiming the former men's number one does not know the full details of the matter.

Five-time grand slam winner Sharapova tested positive for the banned substance meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open and spent 15 months out of the game before returning to action in Stuttgart in April this year.

Sharapova's return to the WTA Tour was met with a mixed response from the locker room, with Murray a high-profile critic.

"I think taking a prescription drug that you don't necessarily need just because it's legal, that's wrong," he said at Indian Wells in March. "If you're taking a prescription drug and you're not using it for what that drug was meant for, then you don't need it, so you're just using it for the performance enhancing benefits that drug is giving you."

Sharapova's initial two-year ban was reduced on appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, who judged the Russian to have used the substance for medical purposes, rather than performance-enhancing.

"I don't think it's for them to really have an opinion, because they don't have the facts," she told the BBC.

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"So, you know, I think that those are the types of words that make headlines and they will be used as headlines.

"But ultimately, this is my career, and I faced it head on, and I admitted my mistake, and I went about it and I served my suspension and now I'm back."

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard went one step further than Murray by labelling Sharapova a "cheater" and calling for her to receive a lifetime ban, but the former world number one said the Canadian's "comments [are] not based on facts, and therefore I don't take them into consideration".

Sharapova made her first grand slam appearance since the ban at the US Open, having been denied a wildcard at Roland Garros and missing Wimbledon though injury.

She reached the fourth round at Flushing Meadows before defeat to Anastasija Sevastova but hopes to go further in future majors.

"I would love to [win more grand slams] and that's my goal, it's certainly up there with a lot of other things I would like to accomplish," she said.

"I've been fortunate enough to win five majors and complete the career grand slam, but in my mind, I like to think I haven't won any in order to have that hunger and motivation.

"I still have a lot more to win."

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