March 21, 2018

Sharapova looks to back up big win in battle with Babos

01 September 2017, 02:09 | Kristopher Drake

Maria Sharapova makes her comeback in a crystal-studded little black dress

Venus Williams improves to 19-0 in Open's 1st Rd

Sharapova cut down her miscues to 12 unforced errors in the second set, then just five in the third, and finished with a 39-13 advantage in winners, looking as strong as she did while eliminating No. 2 seed Simona Halep in a three-set thriller at Ashe on Monday.

Performing in front of a sold-out crowd of 23,771, Williams was more businesslike in her second match of the tournament than the first.

'I mean, look, it's been two tough, physical matches but I'm coming through and towards the end of today's match I felt really good'. The 30-year-old Russian became the first player into the third round where she will face Russian-born USA teen wildcard Sofia Kenin. "I have a lot of respect for her". "But I personally don't [know much]".

Sharapova was decisive, playing with rhythm while cracking winners from both sides of the court after appearing tentative into the mid stages of the second set.

But the questions over the ban, imposed when she tested positive for meldonium at the Australian Open a year ago, still keep coming.

"It's prime time baby", she said. It would have been more plausible if Sharapova had just said she was taking the drug for 10 years because it gave her an athletic edge. Sharapova could be so far inside her bubble that she doesn't see that.

This was undoubtedly a crushing loss for Halep, though it is not impossible she could yet end the tournament as the world No. 1.

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However, the Czech was able to steal that set upon the resumption of play before Svitolina hit back to take the final set 6-3, lining up a meeting with Rodina in the process. However, Sharapova has been too sharp overall this tournament to bet against.

Ekaterina Makarova of Russian Federation knocked out Wozniacki 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-1, and American Sloane Stephens ousted Cibulkova 6-2, 5-7, 6-3. "I've done it before, and I want to have that feeling again, '" she added. She holds a career Grand Slam on her resume and more than $36 million in her bank account.

"With the way I played Monday night, I don't think there are any more questions", she said.

"I've had an incredible reaction from fans since I've been back and that's been very special", Sharapova said afterwards. "I feel like each round is a time to improve". I felt it in a real presence since I've been back.

There were nothing but cheers from the crowd before, during and after Wednesday's win.

The five-time Grand Slam champion will take on the American wild card Sofia Kenin in her third-round match. She lost to her sister, Serena, but the championship marked the beginning of a year in which tennis rewound the clock in terms of who occupied the top spots.

Earlier this month Maria wasn't even sure whether she would be fit enough to accept the US Open's offer of a wild card. "I'm so happy", Muguruza said.

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