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Sevastova stuns Sharapova for second straight US Open quarterfinal

Anastasija Sevastova/twitter.com/@WTA.
No.16 seed Latvia's tennis player Anastasija Sevastova booked her place in yet another US Open quarterfinal in dramatic style, recovering from a set down to dismiss 2006 champion Maria Sharapova, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.

Sevastova was once a Top 40 player back in 2011 before deciding to briefly retire due to perpetual injuries and illnesses. Re-igniting her love for the game during her time away, the Latvian returned to impressive results, roaring into the last eight in Flushing Meadows last year with upset victories over Garbiñe Muguruza and Johanna Konta.

Winning her second WTA title earlier this season at the Mallorca Open, Sevastova was undaunted by the prospect of backing up her career-revitalizing run, returning to the second week by knocking out in-form youngsters Carina Witthoeft and Donna Vekic. 

Across the net, Sharapova had battled into her first Grand Slam fourth round after 19 months away, surprising World No.2 Simona Halep in one of the best matches of the tournament and moving further by beating Timea Babos and Russian-American teenager Sofia Kenin on Friday night.

The former WTA World No.1 appeared in control from the outset, particularly off the forehand side, as she edged ahead 4-1 with points for 5-2 to start the match. Sevastova kept things close from there, and though she ultimately lost the opening set, broke early in the second and took that momentum into the third, where she served out the win on her third match point.

Spending two hours and 16 minutes on court, Sevastova struck 21 winners to just 14 winners throughout, playing expert defense and mixing up the play well against Sharapova, who hit 42 winners to 51 errors - 18 of which came in the deciding set.

Up next for the Latvian veteran will be American Sloane Stephens, who survived Germany's Julia Goerges in three sets out on Louis Armstrong Stadium. Stephens is into her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, and first ever at the US Open.
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