The reward for Sevastova's battling performance is a quarter-final clash against world number 83 Sloane Stephens, with the American reaching her first-ever US Open quarter-final after beating Julia Goerges in three sets. She played a deft drop-shot victor, Sharapova made an error on her own drop-shot attempt and erred on a backhand to give Sevastova a second break of serve. As with anything involving Maria Sharapova, the decision came with many complaints and the locker room banter continued throughout the tournament.
Brett: Maria Sharapova will once again be taking center stage on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
In her first major tournament since returning from a 15-month doping ban, Sharapova was trying to become just the second wild card to reach the quarterfinals, but couldn't overcome her 51 unforced errors.
"She's playing great. I haven't seen her play, so I have to check it out on YouTube maybe".
One who wasn't was Serena Williams' coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, serving as a commentator while the new mom was out.
"It's been a really great ride in the last week", Sharapova said Sunday night.
Sharapova tried a bit of everything, even resorting to switching over her racket to hit a few lefty shots.
'There's no doubt that not playing those matches certainly cost me today. Everyone was impressed, including me.
For all the arguments about her treatment here, the 30-year-old Russian provided value for money and provided four fascinating matches before bowing out, seemingly running out of steam at the end, having had precious little match practice coming in. Not so much of quality.
Sevastova stuck to her game-plan, though, probing away intelligently, forcing Sharapova to put all the pace on the ball and dragging the Russian all around the court.
Venus' average rank of opponent through her first week was 93. But she was also plagued by injuries and she's clearly still struggling with consistency. Here, she is not a big favourite as this is her first Grand Slam since her suspension. "Yeah, you just have to get through it", Sharapova said. She entered the tournament as a wildcard, given to her by the US Tennis Association.
There was nothing wrong with her improvisational skills, Sharapova playing two left-handed forehands - her second and third of the match - in a single point to hold for 4-3.
There was no dramatic turnaround Sunday, no big point or game that turned the match toward Sevastova, who reached the quarterfinals here a year ago before losing to Caroline Wozniacki.
A nimble counter puncher whose retrieving would sometimes have Andy Murray purring his approval, Sevastova rebounded impressively to take advantage of Sharapova's error count and broke for 2-1 in the second set. She got a good draw and should be able to beat Sevastova without too much trouble.
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