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Maria Sharapova in awkward exchange with Sun journalist

By Harry Clarke

Sharapova has been the centre of attention in her first tournament since returning from a 15-month doping ban and earlier this week was involved in a war of words with Eugenie Bouchard.

Following her defeat to the Russian in the last 16, Bouchard branded Sharapova "a cheater" and added "a cheater in any sport should not be allowed to play again".

Asked by the media about the comments, Sharapova said: "I don't have anything to say - I am way above that."

Now, after she progressed to the semi-finals, Sharapova has created another talking point in an exchange with Dan King from the Sun Newspaper.

Sun: Dan King from The Sun.

Sharapova: Oh God.

Sun: Nice to see you, too.

Sharapova: I don’t think The Sun has ever been in Stuttgart, have they?

Sun: No. It’s nice, it’s fantastic.

Sharapova: First time, wow! Virgins.

Former world number one Sharapova was a wildcard entry for the tournament she has won three times and her first-round win over Roberta Vinci had come just 24 hours after the end of her 15-month suspension for failing a drugs test.

Sharapova, who tested positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open and saw her original two-year ban reduced on appeal, stepped up her power game to eventually breakdown Makarova's resistance towards the end of the first set before then coasting to victory in an hour and 19 minutes.

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''Being the second match and playing yesterday and getting all the emotions out, I feel I settled down a little bit today and I was able to focus on my game. I executed a great plan," said Sharapova, who will next meet Anett Kontaveit of Estonia.

"It was definitely great to come out and play matches and being in the quarter-finals here again is quite special.''

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