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A 1st Round Delight Matchup for the Fans

It was a special opening-round match at this US Open, as 2nd seed Simona Halep was facing a 5 time Grand Slam champion, who walked in the Arthur Ashe Stadium at nightfall in an all-black ensemble , to compete in her first major in 19 months, the one and only, Maria Sharapova. It was a battle of the stars.

After the 15-month doping suspension, it was time for the 30 year old Sharapova to show how much can she regain from her past glory. A former world number one, she’s won the US Open in 2016, which is a staggering 11 years difference if you can believe it. This time however, she needed a wildcard to enter the tournament as she is ranked 146th, but we can be assured this position is going to go down to a double digit number by the end of the tournament.

Simona Halep having a tough match

Both Women Came to Put on a Show

Maria Sharapova had the same look of determination as she did in the night of 2006, when she had to beat french tennis player Justine Henin-Harenne to win her first and only US Open tournament. Halep was the favorite in this match, because she was presumably the more conditioned player, with a better timing and rhytym. Sharapova did play only one match since the month of May, and just 10 matches from the 2016 Australian Open where she lost in the quarterfinal to a strong Serena Williamns, but as it seems, the long layoff was not all that bad for her.

Simona Halep was a semi-finalist here in 2015, but her consistency has been questionable, with a loss in the first round of the Austrialian Open just 7 monthss ago in the Australian Open, which did make her seem like the big stage is always too much for her.

Story of the Game

I didn’t watch the match and altough I am from Romania, I am not a big supporter of Simona. I’ve been watching tennis for many years, not as much lately, but what happens in the sport still interests me, and to be honst, I’ve always liked Maria Sharapova as a tennis player, since she’s been such a great athlete, both in and outside of tennis.

The first set went to Sharapova and in the second set, there was already a 4-1 games score set in stone for what it seemed like a 2-set win for the russian. That didn’t happen though, because Sharapova let that 4-1 advantage slip and lose the 2nd set with 5 straight games lost.

That meant it had to be a final 3rd set between the 2 of them. After 2 hours and 44 minutes the match was over. A break was all that was needed from Sharapova to win a 6-3 final set and go to the 2nd round of the US Open, having defeated the 2nd seeded Simona Halep, which makes the road to the trophy that much easier for everyone else as well.

This match takes the head-to-head score between the two of them to a perfect 7-0 in favor of Sharapova, making it seem like she is Halep’s kryptonite.

Source: ATP

Maria Sharapova Fun Fact:

  • the victory extends Sharapova’s win streak to 23 consecutive first-round Grand Slam victories, and almost half of them, 11 to be precise, are exactly at the US Open, where she never lost in the 1st round.

Simona Halep Sad Fact:

  • this loss marks the 5th chance of the season Halep had to finally become the WTA World No.1, or to win a Grand Slam title.

Source: google search

“It was very was very tough, not like first-round matches. But this is the draw. I think I give everything I had. She was better.”

– Simona Halep

Sharapova’s emotional victory

The Road Continues for Sharapova

The moment she won the match, it was clear that this was an emotional moment for the russian tennis player. She cried as she left the court and with a lot of joy and hapiness hugged her team in the hallway, making a fitting end of the night for her first day back in contention. This however is just the start, as she will face the 59th ranked Timea Babos of Hungary in the second round.

“It’s all worth it. You sometimes wonder why you put in all the work. And this is exactly why.” 

– Maria Sharapova

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