Tuesday 26 September 2017

'I'm in the fourth round. I'm not sure where she is' - Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki re-ignite war of words

Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki re-ignite war of words
Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki re-ignite war of words

Eleanor Crooks

Maria Sharapova fired back at Caroline Wozniacki over her criticism of the US Open's scheduling.

Wozniacki, who has been one of Sharapova's most outspoken critics since her return from a 15-month doping ban, said it did not set a good example to give the Russian prime-time billing for every match.

Sharapova played her third contest in a row on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday night and defeated American teenager Sofia Kenin 7-5 6-2 to reach the third round.

Asked about the comments from Wozniacki, who was beaten in round two by Ekaterina Makarova, Sharapova said: "I don't make the schedule.

"I'm a pretty big competitor. If you put me out in the parking lot of Queens in New York City, I'm happy to play there. That's not what matters to me. All that matters to me is I'm in the fourth round. I'm not sure where she is."

After three-set struggles against Simona Halep and Timea Babos, Friday's match was slightly more comfortable for Sharapova, although she endured a 66-minute first set against her 18-year-old opponent.

Both players, who trod the same path from Russia to Florida, entered the tournament through wild cards, and their combined ranking of 285 must have been the highest seen on Ashe for a long time.

Kenin had never won a grand slam match before this week and, unless she turns professional immediately, will have to forfeit her 144,000 US dollars (approximately £110,000) in prize money.

Kenin was outmatched physically but fought doggedly to stay with Sharapova and a slew of unforced errors from the Russian saw her pegged back from 4-1 to 4-4.

As she had against Babos, Sharapova struggled to produce the free-swinging tennis that stunned Halep, but she played two fine points to clinch the opening set.

There was a blip in the second set when Sharapova double-faulted to go from 3-0 to 3-2 but she then reeled off another three games to book her spot in the last 16.

The five-time grand slam champion next plays 16th seed Anastasija Sevastova and she knows she will need to improve if she is to go much further.

She said: "There were just too many errors in the beginning of that match. Coming into this match playing two three-setters, I'm just happy I got it done in two. Give my body a little bit of a break, I guess.

"I just felt like I wasn't hitting the ball that well in the beginning, but I got better as the match went on."

Press Association

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