Eugenie Bouchard has ended Maria Sharapova’s return to the courts – the woman she called a “cheat” – in a marathon three-setter in the second round of the Madrid Open.
Bouchard criticised Sharapova as she made her comeback from a 15-month drugs ban at the Stuttgart Open in April.
The Canadian finally came through a brutal encounter 7-5 2-6 6-4 after almost three hours on court.
“I was inspired because I had a lot of players coming up to me privately, wishing me good luck,” said Bouchard.
“They were players I don’t normally speak to and I got a lot of texts from people in the tennis world that were just rooting for me. I wanted to do it for myself, but also for all these people.”
Bouchard will play Angelique Kerber, who is set to replace Serena Williams as world number one, in the third round.
“Some girls in the locker room were coming up to me and really wishing me good luck which doesn’t normally happen,” added the world number 60.
“It showed me that most people have my opinion and they were just maybe scared to speak out.”
Speaking after Sharapova made her return from a ban for the use of meldonium in Stuttgart, Bouchard said: “She’s a cheater and I don’t think a cheater in any sport should be allowed to play again.
“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 she’s not someone I can say I look up to any more.”
When Bouchard’s comments were put to her, Sharapova said that she was “way above” responding.