Tennis Host. Andy Taylor. The Voice of the US Open
Anastasija Sevastova def Maria Sharapova 57 64 62
Maria Sharapova’s first Slam since the 2016 Australian Open is over. Simply put, she ran out of fuel. In her first Slam in 19-months, Maria didn’t have the stamina to piece together seven wins over two weeks. That said, it was a positive week for the 5-time Major Champion, with a win over World #2 Simona Halep, and a come-from-behind victory over hard-striker Timea Babos.
Meanwhile, with two consecutive US Open Quarterfinal runs under her belt, Anastasija Sevastova is now a foreboding annual threat in the Big Apple. Last year, she took-out Garbine Muguruza (3) and Johanna Konta (13) to reach the Quarterfinals; this year, a resurgent Maria Sharapova. She had to match Sharapova’s stubborn determination to do it.
Sharapova struck first
Up 6-5 in the first, Sharpova stole the set with a break. Rather than fume over misfortune, Sevastova came right back and went up a break before set-2’s first changeover. Both held the rest of the way. After an hour and 37-minutes, it came down to a decider.
In the third, Sharapova faded immediately, distracted by a blister on her racquet hand. At the changeover, Sevastova was up 2-breaks. Maria took a medical time-out, won the next two games and received additional treatment, but it was the end of the road. Sevastova swept the final three games to reach her 2nd consecutive US Open Quarterfinal.
Sevastova, a Flushing Queen
The US Open is the only Slam where Anastasija has made week-two. Six years ago, she found the Round of 16 in Melbourne; but that would remain her career-best Major result for years – through a 19-month retirement (May 2013 through January 2015), up until last year’s US Open.
The door is wide-open for the 16-seed to reach her first Slam Semifinal. This year, she’s enjoyed a far easier run to the Quarters with dominant wins over Carina Witthoeft, Kateryna Kozlova and Donna Vekic before today’s clash with Sharapova. On Tuesday, she’ll face either Julia Goerges – who she defeated earlier this year in the Mallorca Final to win her 2nd career WTA singles title; or she’ll face American Sloane Stephens – who is still rediscovering her rhythm after foot surgery delayed the start of her season.