Sharapova's run ended by Sevastova

Sharapova

Maria Sharapova’s Grand Slam return after a 19-month absence has come to an end at the fourth round stage of the US Open

It had been an arduous route through to the second week for the former champion and she unravelled in the deciding set of her duel with No.16 seed, Anastasija Sevastova

The crafty and creative Latvian was a 5-7 6-4 6-2 winner and she is into the quarter-finals for a second consecutive year. “The first set was very close and could have gone either way,” admitted the 27-year-old after the match.

“I think Maria played unbelievable throughout the first and second sets but I just kept fighting. I was running for ever ball and just stayed involved. The emotions were high {as she served for the match} but it was still 5-2, and I wanted to close it out so much."

Sevastova is a player for the big occasion. 12 months ago she defeated Garbine Muguruza and Johanna Konta and she possesses the finesse and variety required to unsettle offensive players.

Sharapova, aware of how dangerous her opponent can be, started the match strongly and her forehand down the line helped her establish a 4-1 lead. She was unable to shake off the Latvian though, and was soon embroiled in a scrap for the first set.

Sevastova was back in contention for the opener however she was broken for a second time in the 12th game. A sizzling forehand return winner from the Russian did the damage and she was halfway towards the finishing line.

Sharapova may have banked the first set, but her level dropped considerably in the second. Her first serve percentage plummeted to a lowly 48% and her indecisiveness in the forecourt was repeatedly exposed by her rival.

The Latvian grabbed a break in the third game and she managed to protect her advantage until she hit six games on the scoreboard. For the third time in four matches, the Russian was going the distance.

It was assumed that Sharapova, a renowned fighter, would respond with gusto in the decider, but instead, she faded badly. She made an eye-watering 18 unforced-errors in just eight games as her time at this year’s US Open came to an abrupt end.

Sloane Stephens will provide Sevastova with her next challenge. The American, who defeated Julia Görges 6-3 3-6 6-1, has had an outstanding hard-court season - after a lengthy spell on the sidelines - and she is into the last eight of her home major for the first time.

Afterwards, the 24 year-old said: “When I first came back at Wimbledon I was super nervous that it wasn’t going to go my way and I was going to have to work really hard. I did that, but I was afraid that the results were not going to come the way I wanted them to.

“I honestly could not have asked for a better comeback or a better way to come back on the tour. To reach the quarter-finals here is unbelievable for me, so I couldn’t be happier.”

Venus Williams’ hopes of winning an eighth major title are is still intact after a 6-3 3-6 6-1 triumph over Carla Suarez Navarro. It’s the 12th time the 37-year-old has reached the quarter-finals in New York and she has won 19 of the 22 matches she has played at Grand Slam level this year.

“I’m focused on myself,” said Williams. “I’m trying to be as aggressive as possible. No one ever gives you a slam, you’ve got to take it, and I’m going to try and take it.”

In the last women’s singles match of the day, Petra Kvitova scored the biggest win of her comeback as she surprised Garbine Muguruza 7-6(3) 6-3 to reach the last eight for the second time in three years.

It was a heavyweight contest between two big-hitters, and the Spaniard squandered a break advantage in both sets as the Czech roared back. ‘I’m very appreciative of what I have right now in life,” said Kvitova. “Every moment is very special and I’m enjoying these moments more than before.

“I came here without expectations or goals. I’m just trying to be aggressive and we will see what happens.”

The two-time Wimbledon champion will challenge Williams on Tuesday.

Posted by: tennishead magazine

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