US Open Tennis 2017: Maria Sharapova goes down; Sloane Stephens advances

Sharapova knocked out of US Open

In the US Open quarterfinals, Stephens will play the victor of the match between No.16 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia and wild card Maria Sharapova from Russian Federation.

Now settled into the fourth round in Flushing Meadows thanks to yet another error-strewn but, ultimately, doggedly determined win on Friday night (she beat Sofia Kenin 7-5, 6-2), the former champion and former world No.1 is lapping up the attention and loving every moment of her return to the spotlight.

The tennis fraternity is still divided over the USTA handing Sharapova, ranked 146 in the world, a wildcard into the main draw.

The 37-year-old has been in excellent form at the U.S. Open so far and was extremely comfortable in getting past Maria Sakkari in the previous round.

"With regards to scheduling, as you know, I don't make the schedule", Sharapova told reporters.

Sharapova tried a bit of everything, even resorting to switching over her racket to hit a few lefty shots. If you put me out in the parking lot of Queens in New York City, I'm happy to play there. "All that matters to me is I'm in the fourth round".

Sharapova fought off three match points before a big first serve left the five-time major victor flailing at a return that flew wide after two hours and 17 minutes. That's what Sharapova has shone a light on as she has battled past tough rivals - starting with World No 2 Simona Halep - in the past three rounds. "She's a better tennis player".

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Having lost the first set and squandered away 13 break points up to that point, Nadal finally found a way to break the Argentine's serve at 3-3 in the second set.

What separates Sharapova from so many of her peers, and which has survived the various hiatuses in her career, is her ability as a pure competitor who is able to focus on the next point, turning her back on her opponent to reset every time. "I'll get back on the practice court tomorrow and get ready for that one".

A 4-1 lead became 5-5 as the Latvian neatly scurried around the back, and she was looking in the ascendancy as the Russian once again racked up a high count of outright winners and unforced errors. Canada's Shapovalov, whose first star turn ironically came against Nadal when he defeated the Spaniard at the Montreal Masters, plays with the reckless abandon of an 18-year-old but a temper of a future champion.

Russia's Rublev hasn't quite made that big a splash, but he has played his own part to shape this year's US Open.

That will be his first time in this tournament he won't face a qualifier. When the on-court interviewer asked her what the win had proved, she revealed a little of what makes her tick.

This time she raced out of the blocks and continually kept the pressure on with her deep drives.

Stephens had won four of their five previous meetings, including a straight-sets win last month in the quarterfinals of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

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