US Open: Beaten Maria Sharapova insists she still has enough motivation

Sep 05, 2018, 08:28 IST | PA Sport

Maria Sharapova, the champion in 2006, had won 23 straight matches under the lights, including her previous three contests this year, but Suarez Navarro, on her 30th birthday, clinched a 6-4, 6-3 victory to reach her second quarter-final in New York

US Open: Beaten Maria Sharapova insists she still has enough motivation
Maria Sharapova returns to Carla Suarez Navarro during her US Open fourth round match in New York on Monday. Pic/AFP

Maria Sharapova's long-unbeaten record in night session matches at US Open was ended in the fourth round by Carla Suarez Navarro. Sharapova, the champion in 2006, had won 23 straight matches under the lights, including her previous three contests this year, but Suarez Navarro, on her 30th birthday, clinched a 6-4, 6-3 victory to reach her second quarter-final in New York.

Birthday special
It was well deserved for the Spanish 30th seed, who next plays Madison Keys, as she drew the errors from the Sharapova racket — 38 unforced, including eight double faults — and used her flowing single-handed backhand to great effect. Sharapova matched her performance from last year but then, in her first slam since the end of her doping ban, the fourth round seemed a sign she could return to her best. Twelve months on, that seems significantly less likely.

Sharapova, 31, insisted
she still had belief while putting her relative struggles into perspective. She said: "If I didn't have the belief to keep doing this and to keep having the motivation and the grind of doing this every day in order to get myself in these positions, I don't think I would be here. I think I've done plenty in my career, established a lot for myself personally, professionally.

Biggest challenge
"What's challenging is when you're a teenager and you have a few hundred dollars and you've got no sense of the future, you don't know where you're going to end up. "You just have a dream. I think that's a lot tougher than being 31 years old and having the opportunity to do whatever I want in my life."

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