By Adrianna Outlaw
© James White
(July 14, 2010) Maria Sharapova will double up in Stanford this month.
The 15th-ranked Russian will join forces with US Open semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer in a doubles paring at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, which begins on July 26th.
It will be Sharapova's first WTA Tour-level doubles match in 16 months. She last played doubles at the 2009 Indian Wells, partnering Elena Vesnina in an opening-round loss. Prior to the 2009 Indian Wells, Sharapova's last doubles appearance came in June, 2005 when she paired with Maria Kirilenko, losing in the opening round of the AEGON Classic in Birmingham.
Sharapova has won three WTA Tour doubles titles during her career and has a career doubles record of 23-17.
Sidelined for two months with a right elbow injury, Sharapova has made solid singles progress since her return to the Tour. She has won 14 of her last 17 matches, winning Strasbourg on clay and falling to Li Na in the Birmingham final. Two of Sharapova's losses in that span have come to current or former World No. 1 players. She lost to Justine Henin in the third round of Roland Garros and fell to World No. 1 Serena Williams, 7-6(9), 6-4, in the Wimbledon fourth round after holding a set point in the first-set tie breaker.
"I'm feeling really good. I'm in a much better spot than I was last year," Sharapova said. "I'm playing a lot better, feeling really great physically. (The Wimbledon loss to Serena) only gives me confidence."