Double Grand Slam champion Simona Halep has had her  four-year ban for doping reduced to nine months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The decision means former world number one Halep, 32, can return to tennis immediately, possibly as soon as the Miami Open later this month.

The backdated nine-month ban expired on 6 July, 2023.

Halep’s test results dated from 29 August, 2022  during the US Open – when she gave a positive sample for roxadustat

Her ranking points and prize money in this period, therefore remain disqualified.

Halep, won the 2018 French Open and Wimbledon in 2019, and has always maintained her innocence after being charged with two separate doping offences.

Whilst  her case was partially upheld by Cas, it also ruled  that “on the balance of probabilities”  Halep had not taken roxadustat intentionally.

The Romanian had faced two charges: one for testing positive for roxadustat and another for irregularities in her athlete biological passport and was originally banned until October 2026,.

Roxadustat is anti-anaemia drug which stimulates the production of red blood cells in the body.

Had the original decision been upheld Halep feared that would end her career.

Cas said it was “not comfortably satisfied” Halep had committed an offence and the panel “therefore dismissed that charge”.

Halep, who has earned £32.2m in career prize money, is at liberty to return to the WTA Tour after the nine-month ban was backdated.

In response to the ruling, Halep hit out at what she called “scandalous accusations”.

“My faith in the process was tested by the scandalous accusations that were levelled against me, and by the seemingly unlimited resources that were aligned against me,”

“I cannot wait to return to the tour.”

The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), which was responsible for testing within the sport and brought the investigation, said it “respected” the decision.

Main photo:- Simona Halep playing in the US Open – by Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd