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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Monday, March 18, 2024

The Miami Open rolled out the red carpet welcoming Simona Halep back to the Tour with a wild card.

Former world No. 1 Halep faces a hard road in the Miami draw. 

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The 32-year-old Romanian superstar faces Spain's Paula Badosa in her Miami Open comeback match. Halep has won both prior meetings vs. Badosa, including a 6-1, 6-2 victory over the fourth-seeded Spaniard in the 2022 Wimbledon round of 16.

The winner of the Halep vs. Badosa match will advance to a second-round showdown vs. two-time Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka. Halep is 3-2 vs. Sabalenka.

"I'm thrilled that I will be making my WTA return at the Miami Open," Halep said.


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The Miami first round will be Halep's first match since she lost to Ukrainian qualifier Daria Snigur in the 2022 US Open first round. 

Weeks before her US Open loss, Halep captured her 24th career championship in Toronto.

The two-time Grand Slam champion Halep tested positive for the banned drug Roxadustat at the 2022 US Open. Roxadustat is legitimately used for the treatment of anaemia but is on the WADA Prohibited Substance list as a blood doping agent, which increases hemoglobin and the production of red blood cells. It has been used by middle distance and long-distance runners in the past.

Last month, Halep won her doping appeal as the Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced her suspension from four years to nine months clearing the path for her return to the pro circuit this week in Miami.

Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty