Carla Suarez Navarro celebrated her 30th birthday in style, pulling off a solid 6-4, 6-3 victory over Maria Sharapova on Monday and advancing to a quarterfinal matchup against Madison Keys.
Sharapova, 31, has been inconsistent since her return from a 15-month drug suspension in April 2017. She had eight double faults and committed 38 unforced errors in ending her 23-match winning streak under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“It’s just a little too up and down,” Sharapova said of the state of her game. It was much too erratic to beat a tactically smart Suarez Navarro
“I try to play aggressive, try to be solid sometimes because she hit fast the ball. I have to run and fight,” the Spanish veteran said. “But I think I made a really complete match from the beginning until the end.”
Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine appeared in distress because of the heat during her first set against Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic but regrouped to claw out a 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-2 victory. “I was really dizzy and I was just asking nature — I don’t know the god — to move the shade faster,” Tsurenko said after reaching the first Grand Slam quarterfinal of her career. “I feel like I want an ice bath. Actually I hate it, but I need it.”
Keys holds her own
Keys was the runner-up at last year’s U.S. Open but generally has been overlooked this year. If her powerful 6-1, 6-3 victory over Dominika Cibulkova doesn’t change that, Keys doesn’t mind. “It’s kind of nice to be under the radar,” said Keys, who joined Serena Williams, Sloane Stephens and John Isner among the Americans who have reached the quarterfinals.
Keys has a theory about why she has been overshadowed. “There is a bunch of big stories, obviously,” Keys said. “Serena is back. Sloane is playing really well. There is just a lot going on this year.”
Keys is becoming one of those big stories. “It’s always nice to see a bunch of Americans doing well at the home slam. I’m just really happy to be a part of it,” she said. “And to have back-to-back years is really special.”
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