Former world number one Maria Sharapova continued her brilliant form in the third round of the US Open in New York on Friday.
Her opponent Sofia Kenin could do little to halt the surge of her rival as the Russian won the tie in straight sets with the scoreline 7-5, 6-2.
Playing in her first Grand Slam in over a year, following a 15-month doping ban, Sharapova was allotted a tricky tie in the first round itself, coming up against Simona Halep.
An engaging contest between the duo resulted in the comeback queen securing a hard-fought win amidst massive support from the crowd present at the venue.
Sharapova began her second round clash against Timea Babos in nervy fashion as she lost the opening set but regrouped to outshine her counterpart in the next two sets, registering another emphatic victory with the scoreline 6-7 [4-7], 6-4, 6-4 in the process.
However, the highlight of the third round win came during the aftermath of the match as Maria Sharapova responded to claims, previously made by Caroline Wozniacki, regarding the scheduling of her matches.
The Danish star stated that the US Open authorities have given Sharapova preferential treatment over the others by being allowing her to play all her matches at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
And the claims have not gone down well with the Russian.
“I don't make the schedule," Sharapova said.
“I'm a pretty big competitor. If you put me out in the parking lot of Queens in New York City, I'm happy to play there.
“That's not what matters to me. All that matters to me is I'm in the fourth round. Yeah, I'm not sure where she is…”
Wozniacki was ousted from the competition in the second round on Wednesday, having been shifted to court 17 from court five against Ekaterina Marakova.
Going into the US Open this term, Sharapova was ranked world number 146 and needed a wildcard to enter the year's final Grand Slam.
The victory on Friday ensured she will be returning to the Top 100 after the tournament, thereby ending the need for wildcards in the upcoming championships, this year and beyond.
“The goal is to keep winning matches, obviously to keep improving,” continued the 2006 champion.
“Even when I was young, ranking is just not something that I've focused on or paid attention to. Even when I hadn't been number one in the world, it just wasn't really that big a goal of mine.
“The more matches you win, the more chances you have of getting a better ranking. That's my goal.”
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