Maria Sharapova seems to no longer be a threat for the WTA tennis elite. What is even more unresting, is that she seems to have lost her aura in its entirety. Almost ten months after resuming her professional career, the drug-related ban still cast a shadow of doubt on her career. Now in her 30s, Maria Sharapova is far from showing that dominant figure of the past years. Currently ranked 41st on the WTA leaderboard, the Russian tennis star suffered yet another shocking loss in the opening round of the Premier 5 event in Dubai. Her disappointing display of tennis will most likely stir up new debates about Sharapova receiving too many wild-card entries.

Sharapova lost to a qualifier in the first round

Receiving a wild-card in Dubai, Sharapova entered her third WTA event in 2018. After a decent start of the year with a presence in the semis in Shenzhen, the Russian failed to extend her good form at the Australian Open where she lost to Angelique Kerber in a third-round blockbuster.

The opening round in Dubai had Sharapova taking on what should have been an easy target. She faced Monica Niculescu (92 WTA) who emerged on the main draw after playing in the qualifying stages. Winning the first set by 6-4 seemed to have settled the match for the Russian. On the other side, the Romanian decided to put in a real fight. She bounced back to clinch the second set by 6-4 thus pushing the tie into what was an unexpected third set.

While Niculescu saw her tennis surging, the Russian suddenly sunk under a heavy burden of unforced errors. Eventually, the match ended with Niculescu sealing the set by a score of 6-3 to give Sharapova a huge loss.

Maria Sharapova's future is racing down a dangerous slope

Maria Sharapova will turn 31 years old on April 19, and it's fair to say that her professional career may have entered its final chapter.

Despite all the controversy that has surrounded her ever since she failed that doping test during the 2016 Australian Open, Sharapova remains one of the hotspots in women's tennis. After all, except for Serena Williams, Sharapova is the only active player who has won all the Grand Slam events at least once.

Let's not forget that she won Wimbledon when she was only 16 years old.

Since that 2004 breakthrough success, she has been a focal point of interest when it comes to women's tennis. From how things look at the moment, her career has taken a dangerous downward spiral from which it may never recover.