Sharapova Shines, 2 Top 10 Seeds Exit on Opening Day at US Open
by Staff | August 29th, 2017, 1:27 am

The No. 1 ranking on the line makes players do a lot of weird things — chokey things, as we saw from Simona Halep when she had a chance to take No. 1 for the first time prior to the US Open.
An amazing eight players entered the US Open with a chance to exit after two weeks with the No. 1 ranking. One of those players was No. 7 seed Johanna Konta, who is no longer one of those players after a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 loss to unheralded No. 78-ranked Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia.

Krunic in the end just hung around long enough to win, blunting a lot of the Brit’s power, and in the third set breaking at 3-3 after a flurry of unforced errors and misguided net approaches by Konta.

“I don’t think I necessarily played my best tennis, but my opponent also had something to say about that,” Konta said. “She played very freely, I felt, and she moved incredibly well. She made it very tough for me to be able to get any easier points.”

Despite her No. 7 seeding, Konta wasn’t bubbling with confidence entering Flushing Meadows.

“I think it would be quite obnoxious of me to come in here expecting I have a right to be in the second week,” she said.

Another player was the before-mentioned Halep. The No. 2 seed drew wildcard Maria Sharapova, and went out to the free-swinging Russian 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

Halep’s apparent strategy of hitting down the middle until Sharapova hit a winner did not pay dividends in the end.

“I just stayed there,” said Halep on coming back from 1-4 in the second set. “I didn’t think that I lost the match. I just kept fighting, playing. I feel that I started to play a little bit more relaxed after that score. Then I got the confidence back. Actually, I didn’t lose the confidence during the match because I felt that I was very close, also in the first set. So it was really well, in my opinion. I mean, I cannot judge myself for not doing something, just the serve, because was a bad serve today.”

Halep was not a fan of Sharapova leaving the court for an extended time after the second set.

“Like always,” Halep said. “I’m used. When I play against her, she does that all the time. So I didn’t think about that. It’s her style and I don’t comment.”

Top 10-seeded winners on opening day were No. 3 Garbine Muguruza bageling American Varvara Lepchenko 6-0, 6-3, No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki beating Roamnian Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-1, 7-5, and No. 9 Venus Williams slogging past Slovak Viktoria Kuzmova 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

“First round’s always, you know, tricky,” Wozniacki said after beating the qualifier Buzarnescu. “You just want to get through them, get them done, and move on, especially in Grand Slams. I was happy to finish off in two sets.”

Other seeded winners on the day were No. 11 Dominika Cibulkova needing three to get past Jana Cepelova, No. 13 Petra Kvitova topping former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic 7-5, 7-5, No. 16 Anastasija Sevastova, No. 18 Caroline Garcia, No. 22 Peng Shuai, No. 29 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni edging Monica Puig in a third-set breaker, No. 30 Julia Goerges, and No. 31 Magdalena Rybarikova.

Other upset-minded players were Aussie Ashleigh Barty coming from a set down to beat No. 21 Ana Konjuh 4-6, 6-0, 6-1, Greece’s Maria Sakkari ousting No. 24 Kiki Bertens 6-3, 6-4, and Sofia Kenin beating fellow American and No. 32 seed Lauren Davis 7-5, 7-5.

Matches to look for on Tuesday at Flushing Meadows include (6) Angie Kerber vs. Naomi Osaka, (20) CoCo Vandeweghe vs. Alison Riske in an all-American, (25) Daria Gavrilova vs. (Q) Allie Kiick, (26) Anett Kontaveit vs. veteran Lucie Safarova, and (1) Karolina Pliskova starting vs. Magda Linette.

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18 Comments for Sharapova Shines, 2 Top 10 Seeds Exit on Opening Day at US Open

the_mind_reels Says:

I’m not Sharapova’s biggest fan out there, but she was just too good last night. If Halep is going to serve the way she did, she’s going to have a very tough time holding her service games. It looked like target practice for Maria at times.

Pamela Says:

I am a Sharapova fan… Not a huge one, but a fan nonetheless. I didn’t think Maria deserved all the nasty comments. She definitely broke the rules, but it was banned one month before. yes, it was her and her team’s job to make sure they knew, but they didn’t….. we have watched Maria play for years. I do not think she took this drug to get an edge. regardless and moving on, I was happy the new york crowd gave her such a welcome. I am a native new yorker born and raised and new york crowds can be tough. Maria played an amazing game… I think Chrissy may be right when she says all this time off could have helped her shoulder to heal…. anyway, Maria showing such emotion at the end…to all you naysayers… Maria proved she has emotions and if ever there was a time to let them out it was last night. I work and could not wait to come home and watch the game. I am in California, but still didn’t start watching until after dinner… it was worth it to stay up late and see the match…. Simona coming back as she did in the 2nd set was amazing… it truly was a great match (IMO) and I have to admit… I am thrilled maria not only won, but is back.. everyone except Andy Murray and Genie Bouchard had great things to say about Maria being back. Genie should concentrate on her own game instead of commenting about Maria and Andy…. well, I hope Andy has never made a mistake in his life… Maria paid dearly for her mistake and like anyone else who paid their dues… should be able to come back without nasty or snide comments. Kudos to everyone else (all the other players they asked and there were several) who only had positive things to say about Maria coming back. And to those who did not want her back, but kept their mouths shut.. that is the right thing to do….

Willow Says:

Pamela i think shes paid for her doping mistake so ill leave it at that, and i dont agree with the other players locker room trash talking about her when she wasnt there to defend herself, i think her fighting qualities are amazing and admirable, however what i dont care for is her on court shenanagins, and they still havent changed either, the taking forever between points, the turning her back on her opponents when they are ready to serve, the grunts that seem to get louder and louder by way of putting her opponents off, and that break after that second set trying to put Simona off her momentum, and please people before you start attacking we are all entitled to our opinions ….

lylenubbins Says:

Good for Maria. I don’t really like watching her, but the revolving door of top WTA players can learn something from her consistent fighting spirit.

BBB Says:

Pamela, what bothered me about Sharapova’s handling of the situation was that she essentially lied at the press conference where she disclosed the issue. I remember thinking at the time that she handled it well, but upon reading the subsequent decisions I felt that she was dishonest.

I don’t fault her for taking a substance that wasn’t prohibited. The original report made a compelling case, however, that she took it for performance-enhancing reasons. The appellate body disputed that conclusion, but I found the original reasoning more persuasive.

What is to her credit is that her agent – the guy most responsible for this screw up – is still her agent, and she was comforting him at the end of the match. As much as I dislike her, many in her shoes would have fired him.

Wog Boy Says:

I respect ITF for their objectivity and consistency when it comes to penalizing drug offenders, just month ago Sara Errani was banned for testing positive on letrozole, masking agent, for two months, yes, draconian punishment …TWO MONTHS.
She claimed that she accidentally digested her mother’s drugs used for cancer treatment, but also used as masking agent and to increase body mass.

“An independent tribunal set up by the International Tennis Federation accepted Errani’s explanation she must have accidentally ingested drugs being used by her mother to treat breast cancer through contaminated food.”

It wasn’t newsworthy for TX to open thread about Sara Errani doping case.

BBB Says:

Intention matters, though, under the rules. Sharapova intentionally consumed the drug – she just didn’t know it was banned. Was it Cilic who consumed a cough syrup that had a banned drug, and he got a fairly light sanction? He didn’t intentionally consume the banned substance.

It comes down to what you argue and what you can prove.

Wog Boy Says:

This is what Sara Errani argued, it was either tortellini or broth to blame:

“According to the evidence given to the ITF tribunal on July 19, Mrs Errani (mother) would sometimes push out two pills rather than the one she intended to take, and in this instance there might have been a case of unintentional contamination when a pill fell into the “tortellini or broth which she prepared on 14 or 15 Feb”.

and this is the conclusion from “independent” tribunal:

The ITF tribunal accepted the argument, ruling that “it was more likely than not that letrozole entered the player’s body by means of her mother’s medication”.

So Errani proved her case, is that what you are saying?It would laughable if it is not sad. Double standards all over it.

Very famous cricketer, one of the best in the world on top of his game, Shane Warne, tested positive. He tried the same thing, to blame his mothers diet pills, it didn’t work, Australian Cricket Board slapped him with one year ban, if he only new about tortellini at the time he would be able to get away with doping like Errani did.

Ruby Says:

Re the Errani case: Letrozole is a commonly prescribed drug for hormonal breast cancer; it is very rarely used by professional athletes with the exception of hardcore bodybuilders. Errani’s mother has well-documented breast cancer and was determined to be factually undergoing treatment with Letrozole at the time of Errani’s out-of-competition test (while Errani was living at home).

Additional testing on Errani demonstrated that she did not show signs of long-term use of an aromatase inhibitor. In addition, she showed no signs of using steroids that would require a masking agent. The ITF had good reason to give her the benefit of the doubt in this case. There’s no fool-proof evidence one way or another, but the facts added up to a reasoned argument. There was not enough to ruin someone’s life and career.

Ruby Says:

“According to the evidence given to the ITF tribunal on July 19, Mrs Errani (mother) would sometimes push out two pills rather than the one she intended to take, and in this instance there might have been a case of unintentional contamination when a pill fell into the “tortellini or broth which she prepared on 14 or 15 Feb”.

You should read the actual ITF report. Mrs. Errani regularly used the same area in the kitchen where would cook to prepare her pills. Contamination is entirely possible in this scenario. Given that Errani had very low levels in her blood (not consistent with use for muscle gain), contamination was a possibility.

Again, it’s not a decision without a shred of doubt, but there was considerable evidence here. Warne’s case actually shares nothing in common, except that they both have a mother!

Wog Boy Says:

There is no mention of additional testing in verdict, it wouldn’t matter anyway and letrozole is PED, proved and registered as PED, on the other hand Maria’s medication was never ever proved to be PED, not medically.

Wog Boy Says:

I know, I know, pill just dropped in tortellini or broth;)

BBB Says:

It’s burden of proof. If you assert she consumed it intentionally, you have to prove she consumed it intentionally. That wasn’t an issue with Sharapova, as she had been consuming the drug intentionally for a decade.

C’mon, isn’t your wife a barrister? You know how this works.

Wog Boy Says:

I don’t trust my wife:)

Wog Boy Says:

Actually, former wife, though the present one is in legal business too, it looks like I have a fetish for legal representatives, have never thought about that, thanks BBB:)

BBB Says:

lol Won Boy.

BBB Says:

Won Boy! Sorry!

BBB Says:

Dangit, the autocorrect is killing me. WOG BOY.

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