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Sharapova receives wild card into pre-Wimbledon event

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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.

Zverev, Khachanov bounce back at Halle Open

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HALLE, Germany (AP) Alexander Zverev and Karen Khachanov bounced back from disappointments in Stuttgart last week to reach the second round of the Halle Open on Monday.

Second-seeded Zverev defeated Robin Haase 6-4, 7-5, while Khachanov celebrated his first match as a top-10 player with a 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic.

Nine-time champion Roger Federer is the top seed at the grass-court tournament, a warm-up for Wimbledon. Federer is due to play Australia’s John Millman on Tuesday.

Both Zverev and Khachanov lost their opening matches in the Stuttgart Open. Zverev next faces American Steve Johnson, who defeated former champion Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-3, while Khachanov awaits the winner between Jan-Lennard Struff and Laslo Djere.

Matteo Berrettini breaks through on grass to win Stuttgart Open

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STUTTGART, Germany — Matteo Berrettini beat Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 7-6 (11) to win the Stuttgart Open and his third tour-level title on Sunday.

The Italian saved five set points in a second-set tiebreaker and clinched his first title on grass. His other titles came at Budapest in April, and Gstaad, Switzerland, last year.

The 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime previously reached championship matches in Rio de Janeiro in February and the Lyon Open in May – both on clay.

Berrettini won all 50 of his service games during the week in Stuttgart. He did not face a break point against Auger-Aliassime.

Auger-Aliassime progressed to the final in his first professional grass tournament without playing Saturday as compatriot Milos Raonic withdrew ahead of their semifinal due to back problems.