Maria Sharapova eliminated from U.S. Open, dropping first career night match at Arthur Ashe

Yahoo Sports
Maria Sharapova fell to <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/olympics/rio-2016/a/1195090/" data-ylk="slk:Carla Suarez Navarro">Carla Suarez Navarro</a> on Monday night, losing her first night match at the U.S. Open. (Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova fell to Carla Suarez Navarro on Monday night, losing her first night match at the U.S. Open. (Getty Images)

Whenever Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova had stepped out under the lights to play at the U.S. Open in her tennis career, a win had become customary.

Sharapova had compiled a perfect 23-0 record while playing at night at the U.S. Open, and was the favorite headed into her Round 4 match on Monday night.

Her streak, though, finally came to an end.

No. 22 Sharapova fell to No. 30 Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets 6-4, 6-3. The match lasted just 91 minutes.

To make the night even more special for Suarez Navarro, who was playing her first night match inside of Arthur Ashe Stadium, the Spaniard was celebrating her 30th birthday.

“Maria has played here at night many times so I knew I needed to be aggressive, focussed and play solid,” Suarez Navarro said after the match. “I told myself to run and fight — that’s the way I can play really good tennis.”

Suarez Navarro, after taking the first set 6-4, dropped down 2-1 early in the second set. But, thanks to an insane rally, she quickly tied the set back up.

From there, Suarez Navarra took the momentum and rallied through the rest of the match, cruising to the 6-3 win.

The loss marks the first time that Sharapova — the former World No. 1 who won the U.S. Open in 2006 — has failed to reach the quarterfinal round since 2012. It was, largely, her own errors that did her in. Sharapova posted 38 unforced errors on Monday night, compared to just 20 from Suarez Navarro.

Suarez Navarro will advance to the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open where she will take on No. 14 Madison Keys, who beat No. 29 Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 6-3 on Monday.

“Madison is from the United States so I guess all the crowd will be for her,” Suarez Navarro said after the match. “I have played her a few times. She has a great serve and plenty of experience on this court.”

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