Monday 20 November 2017 / 08:19 PM

US OPEN DAY 1 WRAP: SHARAPOVA’S WINNING RETURN

Maria Sharapova has made a winning return to grand slam action, upsetting second seed Simona Halep in three sets 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

In her first grand slam match since serving her doping ban, Sharapova edged Halep in two hours and 43 minutes.

The former world one was granted a wildcard to compete at Flushing Meadows. It’s the first time she has played a grand slam match since losing to Serena Williams in the 2016 Australian Open quarterfinal.

She was rejected a wildcard at the French Open earlier this year and missed Wimbledon with injury.

“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,” Sharapova said, after extending her winning record to 7-0 against Halep.

“You sometimes wonder why you put in all the work, and this is exactly why.”

However Sharapova’s win was not without controversy, with some social media users criticising her for taking a toilet break after losing five games in a row to drop the second set.

Halep was left to practise her serves as she waited for her opponent to return to court.

“She always does it, I’m used to it,” she quipped when asked about the unscheduled break following the match.

However, Sharapova was well within her rights to take the toilet break.

The loss is another dampener to Halep’s hopes of becoming the number one player in the world. The current world number two was one of eight players who were vying for the number one ranking this fortnight.

The first round exit is her worst result at the US Open since her debut in 2010.

Third seed and former world number one Garbine Muguruza is one of the other seven players who could leave Flushing Meadows atop the rankings. She eased her way into the second round, with a straight set 6-0, 6-3 victory over Varvara Lepchenko.

Caroline Wozniacki, Venus Williams, Johanna Konta, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elina Svitolina are the others attempting to hit the peak this fortnight.

Fifth ranked Wozniacki kept her hopes alive, advancing 6-1, 7-5 over Miheala Buzarnescu.

Ninth ranked Venus Williams is also through to the second round, although she needed three sets to see off Viktoria Kuzmova 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

But in one of the biggest shocks on day one, Johannna Konta suffered a surprise early exit, losing to Aleksandra Krunic 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, ruling her out of the bid for the top ranking.

“First rounds in every tournament, and especially at slams it can be tricky,” Konta said following her loss.

“She played quite freely, and I think she was able to find her level much quicker and more consistently than I.”

Kuznetsova and Svitolina begin their campaigns tomorrow.

In other women’s results, 13th seed Petra Kvitova advanced 7-5, 7-5 against Jelena Jankovic, while Sloane Stephens knocked out 2012 champion Roberta Vinci 7-5, 6-1.

Australians Ashleigh Barty, Ajla Tomljanovic and Arina Rodionova also all enjoyed victories on day one.

In the men’s draw top ranked players Alexander Zverev, John Isner, Marin Cilic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Kevin Anderson and Lucas Pouille all advanced relatively unscathed.

But Australia’s Jordan Thompson ended big serving Jack Sock’s hopes of a deep run at his home slam. It’s another big career scalp for the 23 year old who defeated then world number one Andy Murray earlier in the year.

“To get over the line, it meant the world to me,” Thompson said after his thrilling 6-2, 7-6 (12), 1-6, 5-7, 6-4 win.

Fellow Australians Bernard Tomic, Thanasi Kokkinakis and John-Patrick Smith won’t be joining Thompson in the second round.

Kokkinakis let slip a two sets to love lead in his five set 7-6 (5), 6-3, 1-6, 6-7 (2), 3-6 loss to Janko Tipsarevic, while 19th ranked Gilles Muller saw off Tomic in four sets 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 4-6.

Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber will headline all of the action on day two.

 

AUSSIE TRACKER: 

Jordan Thompson def Jack Sock (13): 6-2, 7-6 (12), 1-6, 5-7, 6-4

Thanasi Kokkinakis lost to Janko Tipsarevic: 7-6 (5), 6-3, 1-6, 6-7 (2), 3-6

Bernard Tomic lost to Gilles Muller (19): 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 4-6

Ashleigh Barty def Ana Konjuh (21): 4-6, 6-0, 6-1

Ajla Tomljanovic def Johanna Larsson: 7-5, 6-4

Arina Rodionova def Richel Hogenkamp: 7-5, 7-5

John-Patrick Smith lost to Thomas Fabbiano: 6-7 (5), 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (4)

 

Day 1 upsets – Top seeds who bundled out:

Simona Halep (2) lost to Maria Sharapova (W): 4-6, 6-4, 3-6

Johanna Konta (7) lost to Aleksandra Krunic: 6-4, 4-6, 4-6

Ana Konjuh (21) lost to Ashleigh Barty: 4-6, 6-0, 6-1

Kiki Bertens (24) lost to Maria Sakkari: 3-6, 4-6

Lauren Davis (32) lost to Sofia Kenin: 5-7, 5-7

 

Jack Sock (13) lost to Jordan Thompson: 6-2, 7-6 (12), 1-6, 5-7, 6-4

David Ferrer (21) lost to Mikhail Kukushkin: 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 1-6

Robin Haase (32) lost to Kyle Edmund: 3-6, 5-7, 3-6

 

Day 2 schedule:

Arthur Ashe Stadium – 11:00AM

WOMEN’S SINGLES – R1

Karolina Pliskova (CZE) [1] vs. Magda Linette (POL)

WOMEN’S SINGLES – R1

Not Before: 1:00 PM

Naomi Osaka (JPN) vs. Angelique Kerber (GER) [6]

MEN’S SINGLES – R1

Rafael Nadal (ESP) [1] vs. Dusan Lajovic (SRB)

7:00PM

WOMEN’S SINGLES – R1

Elise Mertens (BEL) vs. Madison Keys (USA) [15]

MEN’S SINGLES – R1

Roger Federer (SUI) [3] vs. Frances Tiafoe (USA)

 

LOUIS ARMSTRONG STADIUM – 11:00 AM

WOMEN’S SINGLES – R1

Elina Svitolina (UKR) [4] vs. Katerina Siniakova (CZE)

MEN’S SINGLES – R1

Henri Laaksonen (SUI) vs. Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) [24]

WOMEN’S SINGLES – R1

Alison Riske (USA) vs. CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) [20]

MEN’S SINGLES – R1

Not Before: 5:00 PM

John Millman (AUS) vs. Nick Kyrgios (AUS) [14]

 

GRANDSTAND – 11:00 AM

MEN’S SINGLES – R1

Alex de Minaur (AUS) vs. Dominic Thiem (AUT) [6]

WOMEN’S SINGLES – R1

Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) vs. Eugenie Bouchard (CAN)

WOMEN’S SINGLES – R1

Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) [8]

MEN’S SINGLES – R1

Vaclav Safranek (CZE) vs. Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) [7]

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Alyssia Varricchio

Alyssia Varricchio is a sports reporter, journalist and producer based in Melbourne.

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