BIRMINGHAM, England — Maria Sharapova has been granted a wild card to play in the pre-Wimbledon tournament in Birmingham, two days after she was rejected by the French Open because of her recent doping ban.
British Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Michael Downey says Sharapova committed to the Aegon Classic for this year and next year in return for a wild card.
Downey says “this wasn’t a decision we took lightly and we recognize not everyone will agree with it, however Maria has served her ban in full and is now back playing high quality tennis.”
The Aegon Classic begins on June 19, two weeks before Wimbledon.
Sharapova won the title in Birmingham in 2004 and 2005. She has competed in the tournament seven times.
DALLAS – Marcos Giron advanced to the second round of the Dallas Open with a 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-1 victory over Alex Rybakov on Tuesday.
The seventh-seeded Giron, who reached the semifinals of the inaugural event a year ago, responded quickly after failing to close out the second set, winning the first five games of the deciding set.
Rybakov broke his fellow American when Giron was serving for the match in the second set. Then Rybakov won the first six points of the second-set tiebreaker.
“I’m really happy with how I was able to reset in the third and just get back to the game plan from the beginning and elevate,” Giron said. “He played well and served well and kind of hung in there.”
Eighth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France won the final five points of a first-set tiebreaker and the last four games of the second to beat American Steve Johnson 7-6 (6), 6-2.
J.J. Wolf, the No. 6 seed, had little trouble in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow American Brandon Holt.
John Isner, the fifth seed and unofficial tournament host in his hometown event, played later Tuesday. Like Giron, Isner lost in the semifinals last year.
DALLAS – Wild-card entry Jack Sock opened with a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Ilya Ivashka at the Dallas Open, setting up a second-round meeting with top-seeded fellow American Taylor Fritz.
Sock broke Ivashka’s serve in the final game to win the match. Ivashka fell behind 2-0 to start the final set but broke Sock to get back on serve.
Down a break early in the second set, Ivashka rallied to force the deciding set after Sock cruised in the first-set tiebreaker.
The eighth-ranked Fritz is back for the second Dallas Open after losing in the semifinals as the top seed in the inaugural edition of the indoor hard-court event last year. Defending champion Reilly Opelka isn’t in the field.