Maria dropped to her knees after a thrilling win over No.2 seed Simona Halep of Romania as she won 6-4 4-6 6-3 on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open in New York in her first Grand Slam match in 19 months.
The match lasted two hours and 44 minutes as Maria hit 60 winners to her oppponent’s 15 to advance to the second round.
Maria is undefeated on Arthur Ashe Stadium in night matches as she has now improved her record to 18 wins. This is Maria’s biggest win so far in 2017 and she improves her record against the Romanian to 7-0.
It was a strong start in the first set for Maria as a forehand winner gave her the first break to lead 3-1. There was a total of five breaks throughout the set but Maria got the crucial one to take the set 6-4 when she hit a forehand winner. The set lasted exactly an hour.
In the second set, Maria had a 4-1 lead but was unable to win another game as Halep won five straight games to take the set 6-4.
Maria had another strong start as she got an early break to lead 2-0. A strong forehand winner gave Maria a two-break cushion to lead 4-1. At 5-3, Maria served for the match and a backhand error from Halep on match point gave Maria the win.
After the win in the oncourt interview, Maria said: “Behind all these Swarovski crystals & little black dresses, this girl’s got a lot of grit & she’s not going anywhere”
In Wednesday’s second round match, Maria will face world No.66 Timea Babos of Hungary. Maria has never played the 24-year-old before.