Maria Sharapova Through To US Tennis Open Round 3
No one knew quite what to expect ahead of Maria Sharapova’s return to competitive tennis after the 15-month dope ban imposed on the player. That’s more than a year’s absence from pro-tennis, and almost two years (19 months) since her last major tournament event.
Round 3 of the 2017 US Open now awaits the 30 year old Russian and 5 time Grand Slam champion – and it’s becoming increasingly clear that the star’s professional career is all but over. Sharapova is the first woman into the third round at Flushing Meadows, beating Hungary’s Timea Babos 6-7, 6-4, 6-1 in the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday.
When asked if she had expected to progress this far so soon after an extended absence, Sharapova reacted by saying that she had great expectations as a result of having been in the champion’s seat before, and knowing that it was possible to execute the necessary level of play required to advance in a Grand Slam tournament. She went on to say that despite the knowledge that she had performed at top level before – she is, after all, a 5 time Grand Slam champion – she was also realistic in the knowledge that she had not been in this situation for quite some time, and that it would be no brisk walk in the park getting back into top form.
Round 2 At Flushing Meadows
Sharapova’s victory certainly was the highlight of Round 2 – this considering that a total of 87 singles matches had been played after the rain had washed out most of the action a day earlier. Plenty of names were flying through the air, but the remarkable results were fewer.
Other past US Open Champions to advance to Round 3 include Venus Williams and Marin Cilic.
Whilst Sharapova’s return certain has a lot of emotion flying around – it seems that not everyone is equally elated at the prospect of her being back in the game so soon after the ban. Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou verbalised his disapproval, saying that players who were caught doping should not be assisted in any way to return to the top of game. The United States Tennis Association had granted Sharapova a wild card to play in the 2017 US Open at Flushing Meadows – obviously a decision not endorsed by all.
Mouratoglou went on to say that doing it the hard way by going through the motions and starting at the bottom was part of the punishment.
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