Russian Maria Sharapova has stunned world number two and Romanian Simona Halep at the US Open after the first round of games were played.
Sharapova, 30, who needed a wildcard to enter the main draw at the US Open at Flushing Meadows beat Halep 6-4 4-6 6-3 in a sell-out crowd of more than 24,000 people in New York.
Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam champion who was returning from a 15-month doping suspension now holds a 7-0 record against Halep and said after the game; “You never know what you’re going to feel until you win that match point, but everything you go through is worth it for this moment”.
“You sometimes wonder why you put in all the work, and this is exactly why”, she added.
Sharapova who returned from the suspension in April has been struggling with injuries and her refusal to be granted a wildcard at the French Open meant she makes a return to the tournament she won in 2006.
It was her first Grand Slam since losing to 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams at the 2016 Australian Open quarter-finals and was quick to respond on her return; “It’s prime-time, baby- I love it”.
“I embrace every moment of it and I love it”, she indicated.
“Behind all these crystals and little black dresses this girl has a lot of grit and she is not going anywhere”, she continued.
Simona Halep, world number two and Romanian also said after losing to her compatriot; “Sharapova was very strong and had hit everything”.
“Some balls were really good and I couldn’t even touch them”, she indicated.
The Romanian continued; “I’m sad, of course, losing this match, but I think I gave everything I had. She was better”.
“It was a tough one for the first round, for sure. But this is the draw. I cannot say anything else”, the Cincinnati Open finalist added.
Before the game, singer Shania Twain performed one of her impressive songs at the US Open opening ceremony to open what is expected to be one of the most interesting Grand Slams.