Maria Sharapova advances into US Open last 16, Cilic ousted
New York: Maria Sharapova rolled into the last 16 at the US Open by overpowering US teen Sofia Kenin while a wide-open side of the men's draw lost 2014 champion Marin Cilic.
Former world number one Sharapova, the 2006 US Open winner in her first Grand Slam since serving a 15-month doping ban, downed the 139th-ranked wildcard 7-5, 6-2 and moved into a fourth-round clash with Latvian 16th seed Anastasija Sevastova.
Five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova, who tested positive for the blood booster meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open, reached the round of 16 for the 14th time in 15 Slams since the 2011 US Open.
Sharapova, who returned from her ban in April, was snubbed for a wildcard in the French Open and injured for Wimbledon but was given a US Open wildcard despite playing only one hardcourt tuneup match due to a forearm injury. The 30-year-old Russian broke Kenin with a forehand winner after 66 minutes to swipe the first set, exchanged early second-set breaks on double faults then broke again in the sixth and last games for the victory.
"She came out and had nothing to lose so I'm really glad I got through," Sharapova said.
Sharapova blasted eight aces and 38 winners with 33 unforced errors while Kenin hit only seven winners in the match. Croatian fifth seed Cilic, idled after Wimbledon until this week due to an adductor strain, was eliminated 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-4 by Argentine 29th seed Diego Schwartzman. "(The injury) played a quite significant part, and just being injured and not being able to keep that good form," Cilic said. Cilic's exit ensured a first-time Slam finalist will come from his draw half, which now lacks a top-10 player and has only one Slam semi-finalist, American Sam Querrey, who made it in July at Wimbledon.
"Everyone is improving," Cilic said. "And you have a lot of youngsters coming up that are playing better." Prime among them is Canadian teen Denis Shapovalov, who became the youngest man since 1989 into the US Open last 16. The 18-year-old Israeli-born world number 69 advanced when Britain's Kyle Edmund retired with a neck injury with the Canadian leading 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 1-0.
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