Defending women's champ Kerber out in 1st round at US Open

Aaron Doster  Reuters
Aaron Doster Reuters

30 August, 2017

"Halep is still young and Pliskova has come through with her big serve and she is just much more fit - in fact, she took off nearly six months to get fit and now it's really showing".

Sharapova, cheered on by the NY crowd, was the one who grabbed an early break, and despite plenty of pressure from Halep, including a break back point while the Russian was serving for the match, she held her nerve to clinch the match and keep her hopes of making a stunning Grand Slam comeback alive.

So what had she learned from a match that felt more like a final than an opening-night encounter? But in the third, Sharapova regained control by going ahead 3-0, using her power to keep two-time French Open runner-up Halep under pressure.

"I thought this was going to be just another match but it was so much more", she told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi on-court after the match. The ban was initially supposed to last two years, but got reduced to 15 months in October 2016.

Sharapova goes on to face Hungary's Timea Babos, the world number 59, in round two on Wednesday.

Sharapova was refused a wildcard by French Open organizers and missed Wimbledon with a thigh injury.

With the U.S. Open draws ravaged by injuries and withdrawals, Sharapova provided a splash of glitz and glamor to the tournament strolling onto the floodlit court like it was catwalk in a jet black tennis dress that sparkled with Swarovski crystals. Her vast experience at the US Open will be critical for her to make a run this year. With the emotional win, she improved to 7-0 against Halep and 18-0 in night matches at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

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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.

After accepting a controversial wild-card nod from the United States Tennis Association, Sharapova defeated No. 2 seed Simona Halep 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

NEW YORK (AP) - If Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal finally are going to face each other at the U.S. Open for the first time in their long rivalry, it only could happen in the semifinals. "Of course was a little bit, like, 'How is possible again?' Just first round of a Grand Slam". After that, she never looked back.

After she won, Sharapova, 30, fell to the ground as players do after they win a tournament. The question now is if she can maintain this form with so little match play in her pocket. She was better. She was serving better.

That said-we all know she's unsafe in any form.

Serena Williams, who won this year's Australian Open, is not playing since she is pregnant, but her sister, Venus Williams, is seeded ninth and is the highest seeded American.

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