Maria Sharapova Upsets No. 2 Simona Halep in US Open First Round

30 August, 2017, 01:49 | Author: Douglas Reid
  • Maria Sharapova

Epa06169461 Maria Sharapova of Russian Federation serves to Simona Halep of Romania on the first day of the US Open Tennis Championships at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 28 August 2017.

Sharapova, 30, who needed a wildcard to enter the main draw at the US Open at Flushing Meadows beat Halep 6-4 4-6 6-3 in a sell-out crowd of more than 24,000 people in NY.

Back on the U.S. Open's main stage for the first time since 2014 - she missed the 2015 tournament with an injury - Sharapova played like she had scarcely missed a match. She jumped out to a 3-0 lead that soon swelled to 5-2, and despite a concerted eighth game from Halep to make it 5-3, the lead was just too much.

"My reaction was normal, because this year I had very tough draws every time nearly", said Halep, who was on the court practicing when she learned of her first-round matchup. But on her appeal, the Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced the ban.

"Behind this little black dress and the Swarovski crystals, there is a girl with a lot of grit and she's not going anywhere".

Sharapova moves on to the second round, where she will face 59th-ranked Timea Babos of Hungary. She received a wild card into the U.S Open and will face Halep in Monday's night session. Top-ranked Spaniard Nadal, who won his 15th Slam crown and 10th French Open in June, meets Serbia's Dusan Lajovic in an afternoon encounter. While she has not competed in almost as many tournaments this year as so many others in the field, emotions and experience will play a huge role in her run at the 2017 US Open. After leading by a set and 4-1 in the second, the Russian star showed some fatigue and rust, dropping five games in a row. The record of the Maria is 6-0 against Simona.

Muguruza, last year's French Open champion, can reach the US Open third round for the first time Wednesday by defeating China's Duan Ying-Ying.

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The crowd stood to applaud the five-time Grand Slam champion as she entered Arthur Ashe Stadium after a hiatus of more than a year due to a doping scandal. "To come out in the third set and have that chance again and winning it, those are the moments I can be proud of".

Sharapova had not played at a grand slam tournament since Melbourne in January 2016, where she tested positive for the newly banned heart drug meldonium.

"She's coming back. She's strong enough to come back".

"I don't want to put any extra pressure (on myself)", the Czech said.

Although she had not been seen on a grand slam court since the 2016 Australian Open, all the shot-punctuating shrieks, the aggressive baseline style, the terrific returning, and the sometimes-shaky serving were there.

But she responded with a determined display in a thrilling encounter. "Although everyone expects the Romanian to win, Sharapova may still overcome her".

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