World number three Maria Sharapova returns from injury at next week's Wuhan Open as she starts her build-up to the WTA Finals season finale.
Sharapova last played at Wimbledon, where she lost in the semi-finals to Serena Williams for the 17th time in succession. The Russian subsequently pulled out of a WTA event in Toronto and the Cincinnati Masters hoping to be ready for the US Open, but a persistent leg injury kept her out of that one too.
"I've been working hard to get myself ready to compete again and I can't wait to get back out," the five-time Grand Slam champion said in a statement announcing her wild card entry to the Wuhan Open.
Sharapova is among a star-studded line-up for the $2.4 million hard court event, which was only established last year on the back of the success of China's two-time Grand Slam winner Li Na, who was born and raised in Wuhan.
Twenty-eight-year-old Sharapova has already booked her place in next month's WTA Championships in Singapore -- which sees the top eight players on tour fight for the final prize of the year.
But the field remains open for all but the world's top three, and competition at the Wuhan Open is certain to be intense with 18 of the top 20 players attending. Points are close amongst many of the players, and a strong performance from down the ranks could shake up the line up for Singapore.