Maria Sharapova‘s successful comeback to the US Open ended in the fourth round at the hands of Latvian Anastasija Sevastova in their first meeting.
After stunningly eliminating world No.2 Simona Halep in the first round and then winning two more matches, against Timea Babos and Sofia Kenin, the former world No.1 Sharapova ensured a return to the Top 100, from her current ranking of No.146, but her progress was stopped by the 16th-seeded Sevastova, who has now defended her last year’s quarterfinal points.
Playing her first Grand Slam tournament in 19 months, wildcard Sharapova earned a 4-1 lead in the first set. The 27-year-old Sevastova came close to taking the set after recovering from the deficit, but the Russian stole the set with two amazing forehands in the 12th game. A single break in the second set was enough for Sevastova to force a decider, in which she quickly went 3-0 up, eventually winning the match by mixing up her shots and producing mighty defense. Final result: 5-7 6-4 6-2.
Since the encounter happened in the day session, Sharapova retains the perfect 20-0 record in night matches at the US Open.
Until last year’s run to the last eight, Sevastova had not contested the US Open main draw since 2011, as she fell in qualifying in 2012 and 2015, while she missed the event in 2013 and 2014 due to retirement from tour.
Next up for Sevastova is American Sloane Stephens, who has now won 12 of her last 14 matches with the fourth-round victory over seed No.30 Julia Goerges.