Maria Sharapova beats Sofia Kenin to reach US Open fourth round

Sofia Kenin put up a fight but the experience of former world number one Maria Sharapova paid off in a 7-5 6-2 victory at the US Open.

tennis Updated: Sep 02, 2017 10:09 IST
AFP, New York
Maria Sharapova,Sofia Kenin,US Open
Maria Sharapova, of Russia, follows through on a shot to Sofia Kenin, during their US Open encounter.(AP)

Maria Sharapova rolled into the last 16 at the US Open by overpowering US teen Sofia Kenin.

Former world number one Sharapova, the 2006 US Open winner in her first Grand Slam since serving a 15-month doping ban, downed the 139th-ranked wildcard 7-5, 6-2 and moved into a fourth-round clash with Latvian 16th seed Anastasija Sevastova.

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Five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova, who tested positive for the blood booster meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open, reached the round of 16 for the 14th time in 15 Slams since the 2011 US Open.

Sharapova, who returned from her ban in April, was snubbed for a wildcard in the French Open and injured for Wimbledon but was given a US Open wildcard despite playing only one hardcourt tuneup match due to a forearm injury.

The 30-year-old Russian broke Kenin with a forehand winner after 66 minutes to swipe the first set, exchanged early second-set breaks on double faults then broke again in the sixth and last games for the victory.

“She came out and had nothing to lose so I’m really glad I got through,” Sharapova said.

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Sharapova blasted eight aces and 38 winners with 33 unforced errors while Kenin hit only seven winners in the match. Playing her first grand slam since the 2016 Australian Open, having tested positive for a banned substance at Melbourne Park last year, Sharapova was challenged but passed the test.

Next up for Sharapova is 16th seed Anastasija Sevastova, who beat Donna Vekic 6-2 6-3.

First Published: Sep 02, 2017 10:06 IST