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Bouchard wants 'cheat' Sharapova to be banned for life - tonight they face each other

Sparks could fly in Madrid.

A MONTH AFTER Eugenie Bouchard labelled Maria Sharapova ‘a cheater’ and said ‘cheaters’ shouldn’t be allowed play again, the pair will meet at the Madrid Open tonight.

Tennis 2017 - Mutua Madrid Open - Day 2 Sharapova in action in Madrid yesterday. Source: Christopher Levy

The 23-year-old hit out at the Women’s Tennis Association’s (WTA) decision to allow Sharapova return to the sport after the Russian tested positive for the banned substance meldonium and served a 15-month doping ban.

Sharapova, 30, made her competitive comeback in Stuttgart last month and last night advanced to the second round in Madrid to set up an intriguing tie with Bouchard.

Speaking to TRT World in April, the Canadian, currently ranked 60th in the world, said: “She’s a cheater and … I don’t think a cheater in any sport should be allowed to play that sport again.

“It’s so unfair to all the other players who do it the right way and are true. I think from the WTA it sends the wrong message to young kids: ‘cheat and we’ll welcome you back with open arms’.

“I don’t think that’s right and (Sharapova is) definitely not someone I can say I look up to any more.”

When asked about Bouchard’s comments, Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam winner, remarked: ”I don’t have anything to say – I am way above that.”

Tennis: Miami Open Bouchard reached the 2014 Wimbledon final but has fallen down the rankings since. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

The pair have met four times previously, with Sharapova winning all four including the 2015 Australian Open quarter-final and 2014 semi-final at Roland Garros.

Sharapova made it to the semi-final stage in Germany and another strong performance on the clay this week could be enough to earn a wildcard spot in the French Open, a tournament she won in 2012 and 2014.

They are due on court in the Spanish capital at 7pm.

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