Maria Sharapova's controversial US Open campaign ends in defeat

Maria Sharapova is back in fashion after doping scandal

Maria Sharapova is back in fashion after doping scandal

Her playing hand taped to mollify a pesky blister, the Russian sprinted and lunged to save three match points before finally ceding the fourth to 16th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, who won, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, to advance to her second U.S. Open quarterfinal in as many years.

It was her first appearance at a Slam since the 2016 Australian Open, where she failed a drugs test and was kicked out of the sport until April this year.

"She played unbelievable throughout the first and second set and I just kept fighting, running every ball, and just stayed there". The emotions are high. "I didn't have much practice".

For four matches in a row at this US Open, a player ranked 146 in the world has appeared exclusively on the main court, Arthur Ashe, while lamely protesting she would have happily played in the auto park.

Sharapova, whose five Grand Slam titles include the 2006 US Open, made 51 unforced errors to only 14 by Sevastova, whose 21 winners were half the 30-year-old Russian star's total at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

That's a huge dollop of glamour and eyeball appeal gone from the U.S. Open, a Grand Slam with seriously dim wattage as the injury withdrawal and top seeds fly.

Sharapova had Sevastova's measure in the first set and looked as if she would carry on where she had left off against the young American Sofia Kenin in the third round, whom she beat in two sets after three-set struggles against the world No2, Simona Halep, and the unseeded Hungarian, Timea Babos. Here's her forehand return to close out the opening set. "She hasn't been dominating just Sharapova".

"I think I allowed the match to become physical", she said. Her outfits still were note ideal - she made her debut and upset the No. 2 seed in the first round dressed in villainous black, and she lost Sunday in pale pink so light it could have been white - and her ability to create drama stayed intact. Monday night was a special night for me. "I had big back problems, some muscular problems, all the time getting fit then injured again - I was not happy, so I made a decision to stop and see how my body reacted".

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"I have great respect for her", Sevastova said.

It will be power vs. guile when Sharapova and Sevastova face off for the first time.

Sharapova noted that she was training her attention on returning to a lifestyle where wild card gifts are not necessary to play before the biggest crowds. She is a player without artifice or frills, but has a keen tennis brain.

Sky Sports Tennis will have all the action from the US Open covered via our website www.skysports.com/tennis with our live blogs and updates throughout the fortnight as the Grand Slam year reaches its climax.

"As I said, I came in not playing a lot of matches".

But the 27-year-old quelled the nerves and won the final three games to set up a quarter-final clash with Sloane Stephens, who continued her remarkable comeback from a year out with a foot injury by beating Julia Goerges.

"Ultimately I can take a lot from this week". Obviously, it's always disappointing to be on the losing end of things.

We know where Sevastova goes from here: a second consecutive US Open quarterfinal. I mean, there's no other way to explain it.

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