Tennis: Mladenovic next to try and halt Sharapova's Stuttgart surge

Maria Sharapova made it three wins from three upon her return to the WTA Tour, with victory over Anett Kontaveit at the Stuttgart Open.

Kristina Mladenovic will be the next woman to try and bring an end to Maria Sharapova's comeback after the pair set up a semi-final meeting at the Stuttgart Open on Friday.

Sharapova has not dropped a set since her return to the WTA Tour following a 15-month doping ban, the Russian's 6-3 6-4 win over Anett Kontaveit making it three wins from three in Germany.

Mladenovic, meanwhile, was similarly comfortable in seeing off Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3 6-2.

A three-time champion at this WTA Premier event, Sharapova is relishing the opportunity to get back onto the court, having been given a controversial wildcard for the tournament.

"I'm really enjoying myself," she said. "I think that's the one thing that, as I come off the court, I feel I can take away.

"When I'm in the match, I'm in the moment and focused on the next point, what I have to do. But when I come off the court, I realise how much I'm enjoying being in those moments.

"I thought I moved a lot better, and was more comfortable with the ground and the surface. Coming into the first match, I didn't have a great sense of the court, the clay, or the atmosphere, having just had a practice in the morning.

"I'm visualising tactics better, as well, focusing on patterns. I returned better, but I know I can still improve that tremendously."

Laura Siegemund and Simona Halep (4) will contest Saturday's other semi-final, after respective wins over Karolina Pliskova (2) and Anastasija Sevastova.


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