Maria Sharapova made a thrilling comeback in Grand Slam on this Monday in New York by overwhelming the No.2 World Simona Halep 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in the first round of the US Open.
For her first Grand Slam since the 2016 Australian Open, Sharapova, suspended fifteen months for meldonium doping, has released the big game.
Dressed all in black, with a marrying leather, lace and crystal dress, the former world-wide No.1, 30 years old, sparked the pre-conquered New York public and mystified Simona Halep.
The Romanian conceded her seventh defeat in as many confrontations against the Russian.
This defeat is undoubtedly the most resounding. Because Sharapova managed a full match, of a rare intensity for a duel of the first round (66 shots win, 64 direct faults). Because the Russian was approaching the US Open in the biggest blur after having played only nine matches since his return from suspension in April, and have chained since the physical pips.
To see her tears and emotion after her victory, Sharapova comes back from far away: ” It was more than just a tennis match ,” she admitted.
” Sometimes we wonder why we make so much effort, these emotions and this evening justify all this, “ said the 146th World which has received a wild card to participate in the last Grand Slam tournament of the year.
An additional sign that the Queen of the sport-business is at home in New York: she won her 18th consecutive game scheduled in the evening on the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
html justify textWhile the organizers of Roland-Garros had refused her an invitation and she had given up on Wimbledon, before making a cross on the London tournament on injury, the US Open welcomed her with open arms.
Officially because she won the tournament in 2006, but also because in the absence of Serena Williams, pregnant, Sharapova is a unique attraction, especially as her latest appearance in New York, due to injuries and Its suspension date back to 2014.
” I just want to savor this victory and we will see what happens next ,” she insisted, while she will be opposed to the next round to the Hungarian Timea Babos, 59th world.
The fall of Halep reinforces the chances of the Spanish Garbine Muguruza: the Spanish, No.3 world, is for many the great favorite of the tournament after a sumptuous summer when it imposed itself in Wimbledon and Cincinnati.
She ideally launched her tournament by dominating the American Varvara Lepchenko, 64th World, 6-0, 6-3.
But Muguruza never surpassed the second round in four appearances: ” Given my black past in this tournament, I do not have many expectations, but I will try to play every game as a final “, she promised.
The first day saw some big surprises with the elimination of Briton Johanna Konta (No.7), one of the seven players to be able to aim for the first place in the world. She lost to the Serbian Aleksandra Krunic (No.78) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
In the men’s table, the cadors had a delicate entry in the image of Marin Cilic, winner of the 2014 and 7th world.
The Croatian was pushed by the American Tennys Sandgren, 105th World who sold his skin dearly in four sets 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3,
“ I felt a little rusty, I will need a few matches to recover the rhythm, “ said Cilic who had not appeared on the circuit since his defeat in the Wimbledon final against Federer.
Another contender, German Alexander Zverev (No.6), had to fight for almost three hours to overcome the Barbarian Darian King (N.168) in three sets 7-6 (11/9), 7 -5, 6-4.
The first victim of renown of the 2017 edition is called David Ferrer: the Spaniard, 25th World and semifinalist in Cincinnati, suffered the law of Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin (No.103) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1.
After Queen Sharapova, New York waits Tuesday his king Roger Federer whose 5th and last consecration dates back to 2008.
Switzerland, who returned to third place after winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon, opens its fortnight in front of the great American hope Frances Tiafoe, already 70th in the world at 19 years.