Maria lights up New York City

Maria started her 2014 US Open campaign with a win under the lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Maria defeated Maria Kirilenko 6-4 6-0 in 89 minutes. From 2-4 down in the first set, Maria won ten consecutive games to book her spot in the last 64 and still remains unbeaten in night matches in New York.

It was a slow start for Maria as her opponent went up a break with a 4-2 lead in the first set. In the eighth game, Maria broke Kirilenko’s serve when Kirilenko hit a backhand out and levelled the set 4-4. In the next game, Maria held her serve and in the final game of the set, broke Kirilenko for the second time and won set point with a powerful forehand swinging volley winner.

The momentum Maria gained from taking the first set continued as she broke Kirilenko in the second game when Kirilenko netted a backhand. At 3-0 up, Kirilenko had an injury time out and when play resumed Maria broke Kirilenko’s serve to lead 4-0 when Kirilenko hit a shot long. In the final game of the match, Maria broke Kirilenko again and won the match when her opponent double-faulted.

In Wednesday’s second round match, Maria will face world no.95 Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania. Maria has played the 25-year-old twice before and leads the series 2-0. Here are the matches they have played against each other:
2011 Miami QF: Maria won 3-6 7-6 7-6
2013 Madrid R1: Maria won 7-5 6-2