The 26-year-old Errani, at her highest-ever seeding of fourth at a Grand Slam, was bumped up when golden girl Sharapova pulled out with a shoulder injury.
It was a promotion that left last year’s US Open semi-finalist and 2012 French Open runner-up dizzy with pressure and in tears in the press room.
“Very bad,” said Errani -- beaten by Italian compatriot Flavia Pennetta, 6-3, 6-1 in the second round -- when asked how she dealt with the move to the number four in the seedings. “I know the situation. I know all the players are expecting from me, and I would like to know how to do it. So I hope this can make me stronger, make me improve.”
Errani arrived in New York having lost in the opening stage of Cincinnati and New Haven, but looked more than comfortable in the US Open first round with a 6-0, 6-0 mauling of Australia's Olivia Rogowska.
Having played 106 matches in singles and doubles in 2013 coming into the tournament, she admitted that rediscovering her enjoyment of the sport is her biggest challenge.
“I’m feeling too much pressure. I don’t know why, but I’m not enjoying going on the courts, and that is the worst thing a player can have,” she explained.