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Luc de Clapiers de Vauvenargues
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Call it a comeback: Sevastova continues run

Anastasija Sevastova/twitter.com/@Alan_Krueger.
When Ukrainian tennis player Kateryna Bondarenko and Latvian Anastasija Sevastova looked at each other across the net at the start of Friday’s third round, they might have seen a bit of themselves. Both players took time off from the game in recent years – retiring and then staging comebacks. And both were thrilled to be through to the third round of the US Open.

Bondarenko charged to a 3-0 lead in the first set and quickly found the form that allowed her to beat Sevastova three times previously. Sevastova, meanwhile, found the nerves that she narrowly overcame to upset No. 3 Garbiñe Muguruza on Wednesday. She was tentative in a new environment, far from the lights and primetime of her last night match in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Then, Sevastova delivered a quick break to get back into the first set and changed the complexion of the match. The break seemed to settle the Latvian, while Bondarenko struggled with Sevastova’s pace and never found the willpower to fight through. Bondarenko struggled on the big points and Sevastova delivered a strong 6-4, 6-1, victory, hitting 20 winners to Bondarenko’s 11 in one hour and six minutes.

“Until love-3 it was a letdown, and I was a bit nervous,” she said on court after the match. “She’s a tough fighter, tough competitor and I’m happy.”

Bondarenko had beaten Sevastova three times coming into Friday’s match. Her best result at the US Open was a 2009 quarterfinal berth, which allowed her to break the Top 30 for the first time and gave her the distinction of becoming the first Ukrainian to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal.

If Sevastova hadn’t announced herself with the upset over Muguruza, her convincing victory on Court 17 Wednesday to enter the fourth round certainly did.

Sevastova will play Johanna Konta in the fourth round. Can she keep the run going? 

usopen.org

02-09-2016
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