Before this year’s first-round meeting at the US Open, Maria Sharapova and Patty Schnyder had faced each other eight times, with Sharapova leading their head-to-head 7-1, but their last encounter happened way back in 2008 in Rome, so the 2018 late night clash in which the Russian extended her record against the Swiss veteran felt like the revival of the old times.
The 39-year-old tennis mom Schynder, who played her first US Open quarterfinals 20(!) years ago, was on the brink of a quick defeat when faced with a 6-2 5-1 deficit against a sub-par Sharapova, but she produced a spirited fightback, profiting on her opponent’s errors, and forced a tiebreak in the second set. However, her own errors clawed in and the 22nd-seeded Sharapova, launching the dark version of her Nike Fall Maria NY Dress, reached the second round in straight sets, converting her fourth match point, 6-2 7-6(6).
At 39 years, 269 days old (based on the end of the tournament), Schnyder was the oldest player to enter the main draw at a Grand Slam through qualifying. Moreover, this was her first main-draw Grand Slam match since she came back to tennis in 2015.
Talking about the old times, Vera Zvonareva, the 2010 US Open runner-up who is a qualifier this year, defeated Anna Blinkova 6-2 6-7(6) 7-5 in close to three hours, winning her first main-draw match at a Grand Slam since 2015. Zvonareva is another mom on tour, who is also famous for her educational pedigree.
The 33-year-old Zvonareva has a degree from Russian State Academy of Physical Education, degree in international economic relations at Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in Moscow and Master’s degree which she earned after completing an M.S. in Global Studies & Political Science through a previous agreement between Northeastern University and the Women’s Tennis Benefits Association.