Sharapova fires back at all attacks (Photo: Lev Radin)
Sharapova’s winning streak continues, on Friday she defeated American Sofia Kenin, however most of the drama seems to be off the court, about the court. Sharapova played all three matches going into the 4th round on the main court, and Caroline Wozniacki, the No. 5 seed, made some inciting comments about Sharapova’s court placement.
Wozniacki said, “Putting out a schedule where the No. 5 in the world is playing Court Five – fifth match on after 11 (p.m.) I think that’s unacceptable,” Wozniacki said. “And when you look on Center Court I understand completely the business side of things and everything but someone who comes back from a drug sentence and, you know performance enhancing drugs, and then you know all of a sudden gets to play every single match on Center Court, I think that’s a questionable thing to do.”
Sharapova who was given a wild card by the U.S. Tennis Association into her first Grand Slam tournament since a 15-month doping ban, responded to Wozniacki’s claims of unacceptable favoritism, straight to the point. “With regards to scheduling, as you know, I don’t make the schedule,” Sharapova said. “I’m a pretty big competitor. If you put me out in a parking lot of Queens in New York City, I’m happy to play there.”
Sharapova is a five-time Grand Slam champion, but she is unseeded here with a ranking that has tumbled to No. 146 following her suspension.
Federer won 6-1, 6-7 (3), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 and the audience at the main court, Arthur Ashe, was definitely concerned seeing him two sets down, but there’s nothing a crowd loves more than a comeback. Federer took it in his stride, “It wasn’t always like this, but these five-set battles are a lot of fun,” he said courtside to some incredulity. “I feel quite warmed up now … I haven’t played a lot of guys with cramps over a decade or so. It’s hard to watch, but that’s how it is. We go way back to ’98 junior doubles here. This was probably our best match.”
It’s good to see he has an upbeat attitude about it, Federer is still the favorite and should he have the stamina to keep fighting like he did against Youzhny, this would be his 6th US Open win.
An exciting player we had our eye on, who won his matches this week in impressive form was Gaël Monfils from France. However Monfils retired at a set and 5-1 down against David Goffin in the third round.
Monfils, seeded 18th, lost the first set 7-5, and 5-1 into the second set a leg injury got the better of him. Monfils has suffered an Achilles injury, a knee injury and an ankle injury this season. He is one player who brings the action to the court and he will be missed for the remainder of the US Open. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Rafael Nadal faced World No. 121 Taro Daniel on Thursday and he prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to make it into the third round. Japan’s Daniel put up an admirable performance on center court, the 24 year old was not intimidated by the two-time US Open champion, Nadal, taking the first set. Yet despite a tough start, Nadal settled in his stride and secured a win.
American Slone Stephens rolled into the 4th round in style, not only was her pink ensemble coordinated and stylish, so was her performance.
Stephens eliminated Ashleigh Barty of Australia on Friday, 6-2, 6-4, and she advances to the fourth round in Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2013.
Stephens hopes to reach her first US Open quarterfinal and Grand Slam quarterfinal since 2013. “I haven’t been in the second week of a slam in a long time,” Stephens said after the match. “It’s nice. Excited to be here. Especially at a home slam. I mean, nothing really better.”
We will be watching the action as the US Open rolls on!