US Open: Maria Sharapova through to round three

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Maria Sharapova kept her US Open run going but was pushed all the way by Timea Babos.

After her epic first-round victory over second seed Simona Halep, Sharapova was being touted by some pundits as a potential title contender.

But she looked much more like a player who has played just one match since May in the first set against Babos, a Hungarian ranked 59.

Sharapova did not play nearly as freely as she had against Halep, when the pressure was largely on her opponent, but her famous fighting spirit was in evidence as she battled to a 6-7 (4/7) 6-4 6-1 victory.

Sky Bet have cut Sharapova to 11/2 to win the US Open, that in from 20/1 before the tournament, and she shares second in the betting with Karolina Pliskova.

Garbine Muguruza remains at the front of the odds at 7/2.

“It was definitely tough to control the emotions yesterday, because as much as you want to be happy about the match and what I accomplished there, you want to move on fast,” said Sharapova.

“Finding that balance is hard. I just wanted to get it done today, and I did. It wasn’t my best tennis. I felt like it was a scrappy match but some of those days can be the best, when you get through and give yourself another chance.

“Every day that I have another chance to play out here at the US Open is a special day.”

Eugenie Bouchard’s miserable form continued with a 7-6 (7/2) 6-1 defeat by Russia’s Evgeniya Rodina (a 750/1 outsider to win the tournament) in the first round.

The 23-year-old Canadian has won just two of her last 10 matches and had little answer when asked what had gone wrong.

“I don’t really know, to be honest,” she said. “It’s one of those matches you kind of want to forget about. I know obviously the unforced error count was a bit too high, especially at the end of that first set. I just didn’t really know what to do out there.”

Fourth seed Elina Svitolina (8/1) resumed her match against Katerina Siniakova after rain had suspended play in the second-set tie-break on Tuesday and eventually prevailed 6-0 6-7 (5/7) 6-3.

Eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova (33/1) came much closer to exiting the tournament, saving three match points in a 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7/2) victory over Marketa Vondrousova.

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