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Sloane Stephens steps into US Open quarterfinals

04 September 2017

Still, the five-time major champion could not quite keep her Grand Slam comeback from a doping suspension going, losing in the fourth round of the U.S. Open to 16th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday.

The tennis fraternity is still divided over the USTA handing Sharapova, ranked 146 in the world, a wildcard into the main draw.

The 2017 US Open, already lacking in star power due to the absence of Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, has suffered high casualties among seeded players.

"With regards to scheduling, as you know, I don't make the schedule", Sharapova told reporters. If you put me out in the parking lot of Queens in New York City, I'm happy to play there.

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When Sharapova returned from a 15-month drugs ban back in April, she was bombarded with wild cards - there was not a tournament director alive who did not see the marketing potential of having her as part of their event. That's not what matters to me.

It's been hard to gauge exactly where Sharapova is at since her fine win over Simona Halep in the first round and the Russian had failed to take any of her opening matches in straight sets.

And then, with that deadpan timing of hers, she added the
final sideswipe: "Yeah, I'm not
sure where she is", she said, knowing full well that Wozniacki was back at home, licking her wounds and harrumphing about the unfairness of it all. That's what Sharapova has shone a light on as she has battled past tough rivals - starting with World No 2 Simona Halep - in the past three rounds.

Sharapova got off to a fast start, breaking for a 3-1 lead but she soon found her advantage taken away by the Latvian.

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What separates Sharapova from so many of her peers, and which has survived the various hiatuses in her career, is her ability as a pure competitor who is able to focus on the next point, turning her back on her opponent to reset every time. It's easy to get behind one of the smaller players on tour. On one point won by Sharapova in the second set, she twice tracked down lobs that she got back over the net by hitting the ball left-handed. That match had been relegated to Court No.5 and the Dane made her feelings clear: she deserved better and Sharapova did not deserve anything at all.

The 18-year-old Shapovalov was bidding to become the youngest U.S. Open men's quarterfinalist since Andre Agassi was also 18 in 1988.

That will be his first time in this tournament he won't face a qualifier. She'll face American Sloane Stephens in the quarterfinals, who has reached the round of eight for the first time after upsetting No. 30 Julia Goerges 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 earlier on Sunday. When the on-court interviewer asked her what the win had proved, she revealed a little of what makes her tick.

But she could not sustain enough strong play, and Sevastova advanced to the U.S. Open quarterfinals for the second consecutive year.

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Sloane Stephens steps into US Open quarterfinals