Maria Sharapova's US Open dream was shattered by Flavia Pennetta as she was stunned 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the third round of the US Open.
Sharapova, a former champion, admitted that her erratic display led to her downfall.
"I made way too many unforced errors," said Sharapova. "I fought back to get myself back in the match in the third set. When you're down 4-1 and you get yourself back in a position where you can win and then start making errors, it's just too inconsistent to win."
Pennetta took full advantage of the Russian's 60 unforced errors and 12 double-faults, holding her own after Sharapova's second-set fight-back led to a tense third set and claiming what she called one of the biggest wins of her career.
Murray ekes out a win
Meanwhile, Andy Murray appeared to be heading for a second-round departure after dropping the first two sets to Robin Haase before turning things around.
He did, however, have to fend off a last furious challenge in a fifth set he called 'a bit of a blur' to win 6-7, 2-6, 6-2, 6-0, 6-4.
"Even when Haase started coming back I wasn't panicking, I wasn't getting frustrated," said Murray. "I just stayed focused and managed to turn it around. I just stayed tougher than him."
The Briton, who lost the first two sets, took the lead in the third set, as the 24-year-old Haase faded.
Nadal registers comfortable win
Second-seed Rafael Nadal advanced with far less drama, moving on when France's Nicolas Mahut called it quits with an abdominal strain while trailing 6-2, 6-2.
Nadal said he was sorry Mahut was hurt, but not sorry to be safely through.
"I prefer to be in the third round," he said. "I spent a long time on court in the first round. It's not nice to win like this, but that's sport sometimes."
Men's 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro registered a 6-2, 6-1, 7-5 victory over fellow Argentine Diego Junqueira.
Peng, Zvonareva through to 4th round
Meanwhile, Shuai Peng, the 13th seed, was the top-ranked player left in her quarter after a 6-4, 7-6 victory over German Julia Goerges. Second-seed Vera Zvonareva also made it safely into the last-16, surviving some shaky moments to get past Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-4, 7-5 and next faces Germany's Wimbledon semi-finalist Sabine Lisicki — a 6-0, 6-1 winner over Irina Falconi.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2011.