Maria Sharapova will be back in Grand Slam action as the wildcard entrant gears up for US Open 2017 first-round action against second seed Simona Halep at the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday, August 28.
The five-time Grand Slam champion had been trying to play majors ever since her doping ban came to an end in April, this year. While she was denied a wildcard for the French Open, she skipped Wimbledon owing to a forearm injury.
Even as former players and counterparts remain divided about her getting back to action at the highest level, the US Open maintained Sharapova had served her punishment and that she needed to be treated like any other former champion.
The 2016 US Open champion though faces a stiff test as early as in the opening round against the world number two Simona Halep, who has been setting the American hardcourts on fire.
Halep, who reached the final of the French Open this year, was a win away from becoming the new world number one when she took on Garbine Muguruza in the final of Cincinnati Masters earlier this month. However, the Spanish player blanked the Romanian 6-1, 6-0, denying her an opportunity to top the WTA rankings.
However, Halpe has been consistently reaching the final stages of tournaments this season. She began the American hardcourt swing with a quarter-final appearance in Washington and followed it up with a run to the semi-final at Rogers Cup.
On the other hand, Sharapova has had a far from ideal practice in the lead-up to the US Open. She has played only 10 matches, since returning at Stuttgart in April this year.
When is the match and how to watch it live
The Women's singles Round 1 match between Sharapova and Halep will begin at 7 pm local time, 4:30 am IST at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Live streaming and TV coverage information below
India: TV: Star Sports Select 1/ Select 2. Live streaming: Hotstar
UK, Rest of Europe: TV: Eurosport. Live streaming: Eurosport Player
Japan: TV. WOWOW
Canada: TV: TSN, RDS
Africa: TV: Supersport. Live streaming: Supersport Live Streaming
South East Asia: Fox Sports. Live streaming: Fox Sports Go
After missing Wimbledon, Sharapova headed to Stanford for the Bank of West Classic where she withdrew in the second round owing to the forearm injury.
Sharapova has reportedly been practicing hard in New York and her 6-0 head-to-head record over Halep should give her the much-needed confidence ahead of Monday's first-round encounter.
Halep, in the past, has struggled against Sharapova's serves and groundstrokes.
Sharapova's last win over Halep came at the WTA Championships in 2015, but a lot has changed since then. The Russian will definitely be rusty and is unlikely to match Halep's pace, but it will be interesting to see what the former world number one comes up with on her Grand Slam return.