Maria Sharapova and Eugenie Bouchard
Eugenie Bouchard (R) has criticised Maria Sharapova's return to the WTA tour Reuters

The attention of the tennis world will fall upon Manzanares Park on Monday evening (8 May) as rivals Maria Sharapova and Eugenie Bouchard lock horns in the second round of the 2017 Mutua Madrid Open.

Where to watch

Bouchard vs Sharapova can be viewed on BT Sport 1, with live coverage of the WTA Premier Mandatory event available from 11.00 to 23.00 BST.

The match in question is expected to start on the main Manolo Santana court shortly after 19.00, following the completion of Anastasija Sevastova vs Karolina Pliskova, Angelique Kerber vs Katerina Siniakova and David Ferrer vs Mikhail Kukushkin.

Radio coverage is also available via BBC 5 Live Sports Extra.

Preview

Monday's grudge match pits Sharapova against a player who publicly dubbed her a "cheater" last month and claimed that she should not be allowed to play tennis again in the aftermath of a high-profile doping ban.

The five-time Grand Slam winner tested positive for heart disease drug meldonium – which had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's (Wada) list of prohibited substances just weeks before – at the 2016 Australian Open and was subsequently handed a two-year suspension by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). That time frame was eventually reduced to 15 months on appeal when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) decided that her plea of no significant fault or negligence should be upheld and that she could not under any circumstances be considered as an intentional doper.

Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova is aiming to guarantee her place in the qualifying draw for Wimbledon Reuters

Such a ban expired in April and Sharapova, having been handed a controversial wildcard for the tournament she had previously won three times, beat Roberta Vinci on her return to competitive action in the first round of the Porsche Grand Prix. The 30-year-old went on to defeat Ekaterina Makarova and Anett Kontaveit before being eliminated at the semi-final stage by Kristina Mladenovic – a defeat that means she will remain outside the world's top 200 and will require another wildcard to compete at the French Open later this month. That decision is set to be made on 16 May.

Should Sharapova beat Bouchard in the Spanish capital, then she would guarantee herself enough ranking points to secure a place in the qualifying draw for Wimbledon – which is charging for tickets for the first time in its history, a move that the tournament has described as a 'coincidence'. Sharapova's outspoken Canadian opponent, a former finalist at SW19 currently ranked at 60 by the WTA after a steady decline, is through to the second round of a tournament for the first time since losing to Coco Vandeweghe in Melbourne.

Her victory over Alize Cornet at the weekend ended a run of five consecutive first-round exits in Acapulco, Indian Wells, Miami, Monterrey and Istanbul. Bouchard is winless in four previous meetings against Sharapova, a sequence that includes a 2014 semi-final clash at Roland Garros.

What the players have said

Eugenie Bouchard on Sharapova's tour return: "I don't think that's right. She's a cheater and so, to me, I mean I don't think a cheater in any sport should be able to play that sport again.

"It's so unfair to all the other players who do it the right away and are true. I think from the WTA it sends the wrong message to young kids, you know, cheat, and we'll welcome you back with open arms. I don't think that's right and it's definitely not someone I can say I look up to anymore because it's definitely ruined it for me a little bit."

Eugenie Bouchard
Eugenie Bouchard has endured a difficult run since reaching the semi-finals of the Sydney International in January Reuters

Maria Sharapova: "It's not the way I go about my job. I've been in the public eye since I was a very young girl. I've heard a lot of things. If everything affects you on and off the court, I think that would be a really challenging position to be in. It's not the way I think. My tennis speaks for itself, and that's what I focus on."

Head-to-head record

Sharapova wins: 4

Bouchard wins: 0

Last meeting: 2015 Australian Open quarter-finals (Sharapova won 6-3, 6-2)

Odds (via Betfair)

Bouchard 5/1

Sharapova 2/15