Serena Williams beats Maria Sharapova in five sets to reach US Open title

Serena Williams beats Maria Sharapova in five sets to reach US Open title

Serena Williams begins US Open with a convincing singles win

LONDON: Serena Williams, the world’s top tennis player, got off to a shaky start at the US Open, falling to a surprise 6-4, 6-4 defeat to Maria Sharapova on Saturday.

The reigning champion was initially struggling with a wrist injury but, after receiving some treatment, rallied through the first set to beat Sharapova in five tie-breakers and seal the match.

She then got the better of Sharapova in the second set as she claimed victory in 58 minutes on Centre Court to level the first set and reach her third major title.

“I will just remember today for the rest of my life,” said the world number two who had her highest-ever ranking at 23 on Saturday.

“It was really nerve-racking. You don’t know how you’re going to do in major tournaments. I had to wait until the last possible second to play against someone like her (Sharapova).”

Sharapova, who dropped her opening-round singles encounter to fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova in Cincinnati last week, was playing in just her second tournament since being named the world’s best female tennis player for 2016.

When she was eliminated in the second round in Cincinnati, Sharapova said she hadn’t felt great for a while.

“I haven’t felt that good for a while,” she said. “My body just wasn’t ready to play. I had to take a break to try and recuperate a little bit. It was a good first time out, a great set for me.”

Sharapova had also suffered a shoulder injury during the final weeks of the WTA Tour in Cincinnati and she will be forced to miss the rest of the US Open season as she receives treatment.

Sharapova, who had been making her comeback from injuries since January, said she had to take a break after losing in Cincinnati, despite her having won the previous tournament in Miami.

“I think I was supposed to play twice here; I wasn’t going to play here two weeks in a row,” she said. “But I made two appearances during the year and I had to be on the bench a few times.

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