Maria Sharapova continued to prepare for her return to the WTA circuit on Thursday, losing an exhibition match to Olympic champion Monica Puig, the Sporting Life reports.
Currently banned from competing following a positive drugs test at January’s Australian Open, Sharapova was beaten 6-3 1-6 10-6 in Puig’s home city of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
A crowd of around 12,000 gathered to watch the inaugural Monica Puig Invitational event with many delighted to see the former world number one playing in their country for the first time.
Sharapova’s appearance has proved controversial though. She is currently suspended from competitive tennis until April 26 next year following her positive test for meldonium earlier this season.
Initially banned for two years, the 29-year-old had her suspension reduced on appeal to 15 months and she is now expected to return to tournament play during the claycourt season.