Former women's world No.1 Maria Sharapova progressed to the second round of the 2017 US Open after registering a victory over Simona Halep on 29 August.
The Russian received a wildcard to enter the main draw. Due to her suspension for 15 months, the 30-year-old did not get the opportunity to play at any Grand Slam matches since 2016 Australian Open. Since returning to the court, she featured at Stuttgart, Madrid Masters, Rome Masters and Stanford, but failed to achieve any title.
After being penalized by International Tennis Federation for using a prohibited drug, Meldonium, the US Open was her first Grand Slam event. Sharapova came back to the grand slam court and beat world No. 2, in a first round face off.
Sharapova won the first set by 6-4 and was leading with 3-1 in the second set. However, Halep managed to take the second set by 6-4. After taking a six minute break, the former started the third set and beat the Romanian by 6-4 to seal the match.
"I definitely have to value the feeling that I have now, I think that's important. I can't take that for granted. I can't take the level for granted. I can't take my emotions for granted. This is a big win for me, and I will enjoy it and then move on to the next one", Sharapova said after the match.
Women's Tennis Association, asked current World No. 1 Karolina Pliskova about her reactions on Sharapova's win over Halep and she said, "I was watching, I saw a little bit from dinner, was somewhere on TV, and then in the room the rest of it."
"I think they played really, really good, even Simona, just unfortunate draw for her. I think it was one of the best matches I saw so far on hard courts for those few weeks what we play," Pliskova said.
"I was just surprised how Maria, she was kind of fit and I was expecting may be a little bit in the third set she would go down, but she was playing even better in the third set. I think Simona didn't do anything wrong but, yeah, Maria was just playing well."
Since her victory over Halep, she would not compete with any top 10 ranked player till the semi-finals, if her journey goes smoothly. Although it was just a first round match but the victory brought back the shine on her face, same like 2006 when she beat Belgian player, Justine Henin to win her first US Open.
The moment she entered in Arthur Ashe Stadium, Monday, the audience welcomed the former champion with warm greetings. Although she had to wait for this grand slam entry, but the way she entered the hard court and played against the Romanian, Halep, she looked more determined to face her next opponent Hungarian tennis player, Tímea Babos, August 31st.