US Open Draws Announced, Maria Sharapova Faces Tough Competition In Major Return

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova defeated Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic 7-5 7-5 in opening round action Monday at the 2017 U.S. Open

Then ranked #4 in the world, she's been serving a 15-month ban that saw her drop out of the top 250.

The 146th-ranked Russian wildcard improved to 7-0 lifetime against Halep with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 triumph Monday on the NY hardcourts, marking Halep's 30th Grand Slam appearance without a title. She knows how to get it done in big moments, and the pressure on Halep in a first round match like this will be vast. 6-3 win at the US Open to improve to 7-0 over Halep and 18-0 in night matches in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

'I'm sad, of course, losing this match, ' said the second seed.

She said that she had taken it for several years and did not know it had been placed on the banned list at the start of 2016.

"Behind the crystals, this girl has grit", she added, to loud cheers from the crowd.

Playing at the U.S. Open for the first time since 2014, Sharapova continued her winning ways despite her lack of recent tournament play.

"When I found out that I received the wild card, I was obviously extremely excited", said Sharapova, who had been denied a similar entry into the French Open and missed Wimbledon due to injury.

In years past, the US Open women's field has often been about Serena Williams.and everybody else.

Last Friday, she was then drawn to play world number two Halep.

Adding some heat to contest, Halep was one of several players to express their displeasure over the five-time grand slam victor being granted wild card entries into tournaments instead of having to wade into qualifiers.

The showcase match of the day is to come in the evening, local time, when Maria Sharapova faces Romania's second-ranked Simona Halep. She is now 18-0 in evening matches on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the U.S. Open after beating world No. 2 Halep of Romania 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in an nearly three-hour battle. With the win, it's like she was never gone.

"It's all about the balance, finding a nice spirit of competition and also enjoying a little bit of the city but not getting overwhelmed by it", Muguruza told reporters. Interestingly enough, this matchup marks the first time that Sharapova and Babos will have played each other. Sharapova needed no extra motivation back on the stage she loves best and set about pummelling the Halep serve.

In the buildup to her return in April, she was receiving numerous wild cards which many players felt were undeserving for a player involved in a doping scandal. "I feel better and I feel that I'm ready to face her again".

She however heaped praise on Sharapova as a player saying, "I think she's a fighter, great attitude, big fight, spirit on the court". No matter who won the volley, the crowd cheered in excitement, and it seemed to dawn on them around the eighth game in the second set that they were watching a truly special performance, let alone in the first round.



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