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Tennis: Venus Williams advances into US Open quarter-finals

Tennis: Venus Williams advances into US Open quarter-finals
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Seven-time Grand Slam champion, Venus Williams, advanced to the US Open quarter-finals, on Sunday, by defeating Spain’s 35th-ranked Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.

The Wimbledon and Australian Open runner-up, seeking her third US Open crown, will meet the winner of a later match between Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, the third seed from Spain, and Czech 13th seed Petra Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon winner.

Elsewhere, Maria Sharapova’s Grand Slam comeback after a 15-month doping ban ended in defeat, as did the dream run of Canadian 18-year-old Denis Shapovalov.

Russia’s Maria Sharapova serves to Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova during the women’s singles qualifying match at the 2017 US Open tennis tournament.

Latvian 16th seed Anastasija Sevastova rallied to eliminate former world number one Sharapova 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 and book a quarter-final berth against American Sloane Stephens, who ousted Germany’s Julia Goerges 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.

Sharapova, whose five Grand Slam titles include the 2006 US Open, made 51 unforced errors to only 14 by Sevastova, whose 21 winners were half the 30-year-old Russian star’s total at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“She played unbelievable throughout the first and second set and I just kept fighting, running for every ball,” Sevastova said. “The third set could have gone either way.”

Sevastova matched her best Slam run from last year’s US Open while 146th-ranked Sharapova served notice her game remains formidable, having defeated second-ranked Simona Halep in her dramatic opener on the New York hardcourts.

Sharapova tested positive for the banned blood booster meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open and only returned from her suspension in April.

She was snubbed for a French Open wildcard, missed Wimbledon with a thigh injury but received a wildcard for the US Open despite only one hardcourt tuneup match due to a left forearm injury.

Sharapova blasted a backhand down-the-line winner to break for a 3-1 edge. Sevastova broke back in the seventh game but Sharapova broke again in the last, taking the first set after 27 minutes with a forehand crosscourt winner.

But Sharapova hit a forehand wide to surrender a break to put the Latvian ahead 2-1 in the second set and Sevastova held from there, aided by Sharapova’s 16-2 edge in unforced errors in the set.

Sharapova double faulted to hand Sevastova a break to open the final set and the Latvian broke again at love for a 3-0 lead.

Sharapova then had a blistered right middle finger taped by a trainer and immediately broke back and held. But Sevastova held at love, broke again and took the match on a service winner.

“The emotions were high when it was 5-2,” she said. “I wanted to close it so much.”

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