Former US Open champion, Maria Sharapova played her opening match against Patty Schnyder. Despite coming from the qualifiers, the Swiss is no stranger to playing on a big stage as she is a two-time US Open quarterfinalist. Just some months shy of her 40th birthday, Schnyder was hoping to get her second win over the Russian.
After a slow start from both players, Sharapova dominated the first set and had everything under control for the most part of the second set, until Schnyder pushed the 22nd seed to win the match in a tight tiebreak. In an almost two-hour match with many ups and downs, Sharapova secured her spot in the second round with a 6-2, 7-6(6) win over Patty Schnyder.
Sharapova conquers the opening set
Neither player had an ideal start as they traded breaks twice to keep things equal at 2-2. The pressure continued to pile on Sharapova as she was forced to save two break points in order to be the first one to hold her serve and led 3-2. Winning this game was key for Sharapova as she stormed off to snatch her third break in a row off the Swiss to lead 4-2.
However, despite being down the Swiss still put up for a battle as she pressured Sharapova on her serve, forcing her to save two break points. After a grueling exchange, the Russian survived and was able to extend her lead to 5-2. During her best moment in the set, Sharapova earned three set points off Schnyder's serve which she would convert after hitting a perfectly executed drop shot that the Swiss could not return.
Schnyder forces Sharapova to close the match in a tiebreak
The Russian was not showing any sign of stopping, as she cruised to easily hold her serve in the opening game. Despite the powerful counter hitting of the Russian, the Swiss stood her ground to level the scoreboard to 1-1. It didn’t take long for Sharapova to start figuring Schnyder’s game out and took advantage of it as she held comfortably to then snatch four points to get the first break of the set.
Leading 3-1, Sharapova seemed to be playing her best but her serve was starting to show signs of trouble as she hit two double-faults in a game. N xconetheless, the Russian overcame those mistakes and held. It appeared that Sharapova felt more comfortable returning as she didn’t face any problem to break the Swiss and broaden her lead to 5-1.
Just when the match looked to be almost over, Sharapova was not able to serve it out as her serve began to falter causing her to be broken. Not being able to close the match left no choice for the Russian but to seek the win through a break and while she was close to getting it, Schnyder held tight and survived to shorten the distance to 3-5.
The Russian began showing some signs of problems with her elbow and wrist as she once again attempted to finish the match. Thanks to an erratic game from Sharapova, the Swiss managed to break for the second time in a row. Her chance to stay in the match was on her racquet and she delivered as she leveled the score to 5-5. To relieve some tension, the Russian was able to hold her serve and at least secured the tiebreak. Schnyder fought through a deuce to confirm the tiebreak.
It was Sharapova who started dominating the tiebreak, quickly getting 6-3. However, in what it seemed a replay of the second set, Schnyder fired back and even out the scoreline to 6-6. One point later, Sharapova was again one point away from closing the match. The Swiss hit a slow-paced second serve which gave Sharapova the chance to strike down the return and ended the match.
Next for Sharapova
In the second round, Maria Sharapova will face Sorana Cirstea of Romania. This will be their second meeting, the Russian having won the first one in 2012 at Beijing 6-2, 6-2.