Maria Sharapova couldn't have asked more in her Grand Slam comeback as the Russian superstar, who faced a 15-month ban over doping, has been in fine form in the ongoing US Open tournament in New York.
The 30-year-old, in pursuit of a quarter-final berth, will now face world number 17 Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia in the fourth round on Sunday, September 3.
Dream comeback to Grand Slam tennis
Sharapova, who made headlines last week with her crystal-studded black tennis dress, also impressed on court by decimating world number two Simona Halep as early as in the opening round at the Flushing Meadows.
Having drawn all the spotlight with her matches being played at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, the Russian continued her good run, beating American Timea Babos in three sets in the second round. On Friday, September 1, Sharapova put on another splendid show to beat Sofia Kenin 7-5, 6-2.
Sharapova has reached the quarter-final stage only once (in 2012) ever since she won the title in New York in 2006. However, her new-found love for the Flushing Meadows seems to be evident with the way she is playing.
Sevastova though is a solid opponent standing in between Sharapova and a last-eight berth. The 27-year-old, who defeated the likes of Johanna Konta and Garbine Muguruza enroute to her quarter-final last year, has not dropped a set yet.
The Latvian also has had good results in the recent past (semi-final at Dubai and Madrid Open, title at Mallorca) and has been impressing with her variety in the ongoing tournament.
Sharapova though will have the edge over Sevastova, when it comes to serving power and ground strokes. However, the Russian, who hasn't met the Latvian in the past, needs to be wary of her opponent's drop shots, which have been quite effective so far.
The comeback woman though seems to be wary of her opponent and reveals she will be prepared for the fight on Sunday.
"She [Sevastova] has had a great year. A big game... [She] Serves well. Again, gets a lot of balls back. Uses the slice quite well. Yeah, look, I'll get back on the practice court tomorrow and get ready for that one," Sharapova said after her win on Friday.
When does the match start and how to watch it live
- Sharapova vs Sevestova will start at the Arthur Ashe Stadium at 1pm local time, 10:30pm IST.
Live streaming and TV coverage
India: TV: Star Sports Select 1/ Select 2. Live streaming: Hotstar
UK, Rest of Europe: TV: Eurosport. Live streaming: Eurosport Player
Japan: TV: WOWOW
Canada: TV: TSN, RDS
Africa: TV: Supersport. Live streaming: Supersport Live Streaming
South East Asia: TV: Fox Sports. Live streaming: Fox Sports Go