Maria Sharapova after US Open exit: It's been a great ride
Russia's Maria Sharapova leaves the court after losing
Maria Sharapova described her US Open campaign as a great ride after losing in the fourth round to Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova.
The Russian won the opening set but could not sustain the momentum and fell to a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 loss.
This was only Sharapova's fifth tournament, and first Grand Slam, since her comeback from a 15-month doping ban in April because of injury and she exceeded most expectations by getting this far.
Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova in the USâÂÂOpen fourth round match on Sunday. Pic/AFP
Sharapova, 30, has had to battle in all her matches and it was no surprise to see her run out of steam, hitting 51 unforced errors.
Sharapova said: "It's been a really great ride in the last week. It's great to get that major out of the way. It was an incredible opportunity. I'm very thankful for the opportunity. I did my best. I can be proud of that.
"I think there are a lot of positives. Playing four matches, playing in front of a big crowd and fans. Just competing and being in that competitive environment is what I missed.
"You can't replicate that anywhere, especially at a Grand Slam. Monday night was a special night for me. I will always remember it. I came in not playing a lot of matches. We all know that. Didn't have much practice. Obviously it's always disappointing to be on the losing end of things. But, reflecting back on the week, I can be happy."
The stand-out memory from Sharapova's run in New York will be her first-round victory over second seed Simona Halep, where she sustained a remarkable level for someone who has played so little competitive tennis.
The ranking points she will gain for reaching the last 16 also means there is a very good chance this will be the last slam she needs to enter via a wild card. The end of that particular debate will surely be a relief to everyone within tennis.
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