Maria Sharapova of Russia hits against opponent Simona Halep at the US Open.
Maria Sharapova of Russia hits against opponent Simona Halep at the US Open. Kathy Willens

Sharapova's tactics questioned in grand slam return

MARIA Sharapova has made a winning return to grand slam tennis, but not everyone was happy with the former world No.1's return from a 15-month drugs ban.

The Russian took on second-seed Simona Halep in the first round of the US Open, but it was her antics before the start of the deciding third set that had some fans up in arms.

After Sharapova won the first set 6-4, Halep responded by taking the second set by the same margin.

It was then that Sharapova took a bathroom break before the third set started, leaving Halep to practise her serves on the court.

Players are entitled to bathroom breaks during a match but some questioned the legitimacy of her six-minute absence, especially given Halep had the momentum at the time.

The break worked for Sharapova, racing to a 3-0 lead before wrapping up the set 6-3.

After the match Halep refused to criticise Sharapova, saying: "She always does it, I'm used to it."

Despite the controversy, Sharapova was delighted with her grand slam comeback.

"Simona and I have so much respect for each other," she said.

"It's always tough. I knew I would have to work for it."

News Corp Australia

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