12th of February 2018 - Written by Wayne Jackson, WTByWayne

Qatar Open 2018: Maria Sharapova has been knocked out in the first round

Qualifier Monica Niculescu of Romania has knocked Maria Sharapova out of the 2018 Qatar Open in the first round.

Sharapova of Russia was beaten 4-6 6-4 6-3 in two hours and 38 minutes by the world number 92, Monica Niculescu in Doha.

Sharapova struggled with consistency, with 52 unforced errors during the match. Monica Niculescu will now play either Magdalena Rybarikova or wild-card Fatma Al Nabhani in the second round.

Maria who is currently ranked 41 in the world was handed a wild-card and this was her first appearance in Qatar since 2013.

Maria Sharapova won the tournament in 2008. (Picture: Receiving her cheque).

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Maria Sharapova poses on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle after winning in 2008.
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Sharapova with the winners trophy in 2008.

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