Maria Sharapova‘s disappointing run continued as she went down against Romanian second seed Simona Halep at the China Open, 2017 in Beijing. The Swiss ace had returned to the court after serving a 15-month long ban for taking a banned substance meldonium. The Russian former world number one has been ousted from the top 100 and this loss further adds to her miseries.

The game which lasted for 72 minutes, saw Halep race past Sharapova 6-2, 6-2 in straight sets. The Romanian will now play her second China Open quarter-final, for Halep it’s her first victory over Sharapova in a career which has seen her reach two Grand Slam quarterfinals and two finals. She lost her first Grand Slam final at the French against Sharapova in 2014.

Simona Halep took lead in the first set and maintained it till the end to clinch the set 6-2. The 2nd set saw a stern battle between Halep and the Swiss veteran with Sharapova trailing at 4-2 but the 2nd seed soon outclassed her and ensured the set with a 6-2 scoreline.

Sharapova committed as many as 39 unforced errors compared to Halep’s 6. They shared a total of 99 points between them with Halep claiming 63 and Sharapova settling with the other 36. Simona Halep will face the winner of the match between Russia’s Daria Kasatkina and Polish world number 11 Agnieszka Radwanska.

“Halep was aggressively solid, not making a lot of unforced errors, just seeing the ball extremely well. She was sharp and I wasn’t. I think she played an incredible match, probably the best she’s played against me in all of our previous meetings,” said a dejected Sharapova after the loss.

Sharapova witnessed a grand welcome in the Chinese capital with banners welcoming her back to the business. Her popularity in China was quite evident in the crowd.

After she was found on a banned substance, her 2 years ban was reduced to 15 months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which ruled that Sharapova was not an intentional doper and should be relieved. She made a comeback to the court at the US Open where she was ousted by Anastasija Sevastova in the fourth round of the tournament.

First Published | 4 October 2017 4:43 PM
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