Sport

US Open: Maria Sharapova suffers fourth-round loss to Anastasija Sevastova

US Open: Maria Sharapova suffers fourth-round loss to Anastasija Sevastova

Still, the five-time major champion could not quite keep her Grand Slam comeback from a doping suspension going, losing in the fourth round of the U.S. Open to 16th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday. While unseeded, the American has been red-hot since returning from a foot injury and will be a tough out.

That got up the nose of some rivals, mostly notably former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, who wasn't the least bit pleased when her second round match last week (which she lost) was sent to outside court Coventry.

The Russian gave an early indicator of her desire when she won a gutsy point after rushing back and changing hands to return a cross-court volley with a lob in game three.

"The first set was very close, it could have gone either way", said Sevastova.

Sevastova, a quarter-finalist in NY also in 2016, said she was happy to see Sharapova playing again and that she felt no desire to prove a point on behalf of her peers.

"I made a decision to stop because it was depressing", Sevastova has said of her break.

"Playing on Ashe stadium is an incredible atmosphere, every time".

Sevastova matched her best Slam run from last year's US Open while 146th-ranked Sharapova served notice her game remains formidable, having defeated second-ranked Simona Halep in her dramatic opener on the NY hardcourts.

"Ultimately, I can take a lot from this week", she continued.

Next on the schedule for Sharapova is the WTA event in Beijing at the end of September as she attempts to build her ranking to ensure direct entry into the 2018 Australian Open.

Being a tennis player in the era of Rafael Nadal - not to mention David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez, Fernando Verdasco and a host of other successful Spaniards - has meant that Carreno Busta (26) has flown under the radar, but the world No 19 has won three titles in the last 12 months. If you put me out in the parking lot of Queens in New York City, I'm happy to play there. Sharapova issued a walkover because of a left arm injury before her next match. "I'm a pretty big competitor".

"I completely understand the business side of things and everything, but someone who comes back from a drug sentence, performance-enhancing drugs, and then all of the sudden gets to play every single match on centre court, I think that's a questionable thing to do", said the Dane.

'I'm thankful for the opportunity. "I don't", she said. Sharapova double-faulted away the first game, then made three unforced errors in four points to lose the third.

However, Sevastova, who reached the quarter-finals in NY past year, started the second set hitting the ball with more aggression and used her slice to clever effect to manoeuvre the Russian around the court.

"I honestly couldn't have asked for a better comeback", Stephens said.

"I try to play smart", Sevastava said. "I can be proud of that".

We know where Sevastova goes from here: a second consecutive US Open quarterfinal.


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