Back at a venue the Russian superstar has called the “closest thing to home”, Maria Sharapova has come through the first-round at the U.S. Open in brilliant fashion. The 30-year-old knocked out world number two, Simona Halep, under the lights to book a place in the second-round of the final Grand Slam of the calendar year.
In what is Sharapova’s first Grand Slam tournament since her 15-month ban, the wild card won 6-4 4-6 6-3, despite being ranked 146th for the tournament at Flushing Meadows.
— CNN (@CNN) August 29, 2017
Sharapova came through the test in two hours and 44 minutes, which included hitting 60 winners against her opponent:
“You try and think it’s another day, another opportunity but it was so much more,
You never know how you are going to feel until match point but you figure it’s all worth it. When I first came to New York, I was intimidated by the noise, the traffic, the people. But now I love it.
Sometimes you wonder why you put in all the hard work – this is exactly why.” — Maria Sharapova
Whether you believe Sharapova should or shouldn’t be competing to add to her five Grand Slams, the victory at her first Grand Slam since that defeat in the quarter-final to Serena Williams at the Australian Open was a reminder of the talent of the Russian superstar has, and how she could be a genuine contender to add to the 2006 US Open she won over a decade ago.
Elsewhere, Britain’s Johanna Konta was on the wrong end of an upset, as the seventh seed was defeated by the unseeded Serb, Aleksandra Krunic. Konta’s service game was well off the mark, as the Briton only registered 45% of her first-serves in; she lost the match 4-6 6-3 6-4.
It’s a disappointing end to the final Grand Slam of the year following the 26-year-old’s semi-final appearance at Wimbledon in July.
Today’s action at Flushing Meadows sees Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal take to court, with both men likely to fancy their chances at the tournament following the withdrawal of Andy Murray over the weekend.