Feel respect from the athletes: Maria Sharapova

Sharapova Claims First Victory In US Open

Sharapova is back in the spotlight after a 15-month drug suspension.

Sharapova, who produced a superb display to beat second seed Simona Halep in the first round, underlined her credentials as a contender at Flushing Meadows with a gritty display after letting the first set slip away on a tie-break. The Spaniard is the top seed thanks to his overall body of work this calendar year, but recently had a streak of three tournaments in a row where he departed prior to the semifinals.

Some of her competitors, however, could do without her.

Canada's Eugenie Bouchard has been critical of Sharapova's being welcomed back via wild card to events she otherwise would not be capable of qualifying for due to her ranking of No. 146 in the world.

But the Wimbledon champion wasted little time once she did get on court, defeating her Chinese opponent 6-4 6-0.

The color also paid tribute to the little black tennis dress she wore in 2006 to beat Justine Henin-Hardenne and win her only U.S. Open title.

They had traded sets when Kyrgios called for treatment early in the third, and a trainer came out and massaged his right shoulder Kyrgios continued on but his level of play dropped off severely before he left in frustration, smashing his racket to the court after the match and carrying the busted one with him as he exited.




Oh, but there are questions. Sharapova could be so far inside her bubble that she doesn't see that. "I have to try not to get overwhelmed and just go out there and play my game".

Snubbed by the French Open and then injured for Wimbledon, where she would have had to fight her way through qualifying, Sharapova was controversially given a wild card in NY. They know how much time she has spent over here, how she trained at Bollettieri's, the whole deal.

The victory seems to instill the faith in Sharapova that she is back to her best. If she can beat Ashleigh Barty next, Stephens would get to the fourth round at a major for the first time in almost 2½ years. That means Wednesday saw a mix of first- and second-round play.

For her return to tennis, the star collaborated with fashion designer Riccardo Tisci and Nike, the sportswear brand which "suspended" her sponsorship contract previous year after news broke of the positive drug test. But then, regardless of her family medical history, she couldn't say that, and it's too late for alternative excuses now.

"I definitely wanted to enjoy the quality of tennis that I played with the other night", Sharapova said, "but I also wanted to put my mind onto this one". "She's a great player, someone I've always looked up to because she fights so hard on every point".

Who knows why she was so cagey. Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams were among the players set for second-round matches, while many others were still playing first-round matches that either didn't finish or couldn't even start Tuesday.

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