DARIA RUSSIAN TO FACE SHARAPOVA
RISING Australian star Daria Gavrilova has already beaten Maria Sharapova once this year, and plans to do it again on the first day of the US Open.
The Melbourne star – a Russian import who enthusiastically calls Australia home – has had a meteoric rise in the past eight months.
She started January ranked world No.236 – now she’s 37th.
Gavrilova, 21, is preparing to go head to head with Russian star Sharapova who admits she is not at her best, after withdrawing from the Cincinnati Masters tune-up tournament because of a leg injury.
Gavrilova beat Sharapova in the hardcourt Miami tournament in June, and has also racked up wins against Sam Stosur and Sara Errani this year.
When asked about her young Australian challenger, Sharapova said it was “a tough first round”.
Sharapova said:id “W “We’ve’ gone back and forth with our results this year.
“She beat me in Miami and I had a good win against her in Rome.
“She’s a really good opponent.”
Sharapova said she had had a tough year.
“I’ve had to make adjustments throughout the year and it only gets tougher as you get older, of course,” she said, adding she had done all she could to be ready.
Gavrilova’s excitement for the match in New York was obvious yesterday.
“I (beat her) once. I’m pretty confident I can do it again. I’m just going to get out there and do the same thing I did in Miami,” Gavrilova said. “I’m pretty positive. ‘‘I’m pretty lucky I get to play Maria first round, where some players need to win a few matches to get to play someone like her.”
Gavrilova has lived in Australia for five years, but as a child idolised Sharapova.