Maria Sharapova Advances over Sofia Kenin in 3rd Round of 2017 US Open

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 01:  Maria Sharapova of Russia reacts against Sofia Kenin of the United States during their third round Women's Singles match on Day Five of the 2017 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 1, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Remember the name Sofia Kenin.   

Although the 18-year-old American wasn't able to pull off a stunner, she proved fearless in a 7-5, 6-2 loss to Maria Sharapova at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the third round of the U.S. Open on Friday night. 

Kenin, who was making her first Grand Slam appearance in New York after winning the U.S. Open Wild Card Challenge, more than held her own as she pushed the former world No. 1 in a 66-minute first set that was rife with superb shot-making. 

But after expending a tremendous amount of energy to match Sharapova step for step early, Kenin simply didn't have the power necessary to keep pace in the second stanza—which included arguably the point of the tournament thus far: 

Needless to say, Sharapova wasn't her sharpest. 

After needing three sets to advance out of the first and second rounds, the 30-year-old proved susceptible to sloppy play. By match's end, the Russian racked up 33 unforced errors—17 more than Kenin. 

However, Sharapova also wielded a whopping 38-7 edge in winners, which pointed to her superior play from the baseline. 

Matt Cronin of TennisReporters.net noted that while Sharapova has yet to round into top form, she took a positive step forward Friday: 

"I just keep enjoying it here more and more," Sharapova said after the win, according to the tournament's official Twitter account

Now safely into the round of 16, Sharapova will prepare for a showdown against Anastasija Sevastova. 

Those two have never met before, though, which means Sharapova could be in for another battle as she attempts to extend her stay in New York against an opponent who has yet to drop a set at the year's final Slam. 

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