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Carla Suarez Navarro got the best birthday gift a 30-year-old could ask for when she reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open after becoming the first person to beat Maria Sharapova during a night match in Flushing Meadows. 

By Associated Press
September 03, 2018

NEW YORK — Maria Sharapova won the U.S. Open as a teenager. More than a decade later, she can't seem to make it past the fourth round.

With a mistake-filled performance, Sharapova lost a night match at Flushing Meadows for the first time in her lengthy career, getting beaten 6-4, 6-3 by No. 30 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain on Monday.

It's the third consecutive appearance that ended one step short of the quarterfinals for the 31-year-old Sharapova, who had been 22-0 under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Sharapova collected the trophy in New York at age 19 in 2006 and owns a total of five Grand Slam titles, but the Russian was far shakier during this match than Suarez Navarro, who never has made it past the quarterfinals at a major.

The Spaniard will be at that stage for the second time at the U.S. Open, five years after her other run to that round.

On Wednesday, Suarez Navarro will face 2017 runner-up Madison Keys of the United States. Keys advanced by beating No. 29 Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 6-3.

Suarez Navarro let the 22nd-seeded Sharapova create her own problems.

Sharapova had all sorts of trouble serving, repeatedly catching wayward ball tosses and committing eight double-faults. She was broken in six of her 10 service games.

During lengthy exchanges from the baseline, Sharapova often blinked first, although a couple of times the righty managed to switch her racket to her left hand for a desperation shot to extend a point.

While both women finished with 15 winners, Sharapova had nearly twice as many unforced errors as Suarez Navarro, 38-20.

Since her championship, Sharapova has only once made it to the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open—in 2012, when she lost in the semifinals. Since then, the best she's done are fourth-round exits in 2014, 2017 and 2018.

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