Sept 1, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Maria Sharapova of Russia after beating Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in a third round match on day six of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
September 2, 2018
By Steve Keating
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Maria Sharapova continued to enjoy working the U.S. Open night shift with a 6-3 6-2 humbling of 10th seeded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko on Saturday, improving her record to 22-0 under the Arthur Ashe Stadium floodlights.
There is no denying Sharapova’s love for the big stage or the New York crowd’s love for her and the five-time Grand Slam champion admitted that she feeds off the buzz.
“It’s the energy you get, no doubt I feed off this energy,” said Sharapova, the 2006 U.S. Open champion.
“It’s inspiring to play on this court in front of this crowd.”
Even if the match was played at night there was no masking the poor quality of the opening set that featured four breaks of serve.
Ostapenko, who was the runaway leader in double faults at this year’s final Grand Slam, had three alone on her opening serve but was not punished for her sloppiness with Sharapova unable to convert any of five break chances.
Eventually Sharapova would cash in on Ostapenko’s generosity with the Latvian offering up 11 break opportunities and the Russian converting three – more than enough to take the first set.
The nightmare serving continued into the second set with four consecutive breaks of serve before Sharapova finally managed a hold for 3-2.
Ostapenko, however, would not manage to hold her serve at any point in the set and Sharapova broke the 10th seed twice more to clinch the victory.
The 31-year-old will meet Carla Suarez Navarro in the last 16 after the Spaniard upset French sixth seed Caroline Garcia 5-7 6-4 7-6(4).
(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)