Suarez Navarro Gives Herself a Birthday Gift – A Win Over Sharapova to Reach Second US Open Quarterfinal
(September 3, 2018) Five years ago Carla Suarez Navarro was double-bageled 6-0, 6-0, by Serena Williams on her 25th birthday in the quarterfinals of the US Open. This year on her 30th birthday she gave herself a gift – her second career win over 22nd seed Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-3 in a night match in Arthur Ashe Stadium to reach her second US Open quarterfinal. The Spaniard’s win snapped Sharapova’s 22 match winning streak in night matches in Ashe Stadium. It’s just her second win over the Russian in six tries.
She’s played many US Open matches on her birthday.
“I play like one against Silvia Soler, one against Elena Vesnina, one against Serena Williams, and one against Venus Williams, and today, so five.”
“When I wake up, I just was thinking on that match,” Suarez Navarro said about playing on her birthday. “I just want to win. I mean, was a really good present for me. I was playing also last year same day against Venus Williams, and I lost. This time I don’t want to feel like last year. I want to have a happy birthday, and I have it.”
The match itself was not a clean one for either player. Sharapova had 38 unforced errors, hot 8 double faults and had her serve broken 6 times. The 30th seed, Suarez Navarro had 20 unforced errors and three double faults with her serve being broken three times.
“I thought she played really well,” Sharapova said. “There’s a lot of things she did well. I thought in today’s conditions, her ball was getting up on me a little bit more, much more than my previous three opponents that I played.
“I didn’t take care of the chances that I had. By ‘chances,’ I mean the balls that were a little bit shorter. I hesitated to move forward. The balls where I did attack, I made unforced errors, especially on that inside-out forehand today.”
“I’m not going to be surprised by someone that is playing in the fourth round. I mean, this is someone that’s played many matches in her career, has played on different stages in her life. There’s nothing I should be surprised of.
“I thought she played a great match. She did many things well. She was consistent when she had to be. She forced me to make mistakes. She moves extremely well. Those are all the things that I think we all know going into a matchup against someone like Carla.”
She talked about the biggest disappointment with her game right now: “I think not being able to consistently put up the level from one match to another, stringing obviously in a span of hopefully a total of seven matches during a Grand Slam. It’s just a little too up and down.”
“If I didn’t have the belief to keep doing this and to keep having the motivation and the grind of doing this every day in order to get myself in these positions, I don’t think I would be here. I think I’ve done plenty in my career, established a lot for myself personally, professionally.
“Yeah, the belief is not something that I’m eager to show everybody else. The belief matters most when it’s internal and when you have a passion for something. If you don’t, it’s your choice to not continue that, not for anyone else to tell you so.”
On reaching the quarterfinals, Suarez Navarro says that she feels good. “I play today two sets. Today was a really hot day. I play during the night, so I was lucky because during the day was terrible.
“Well, mentally and physically I feel good. Today I have a day off just for practice, to focus on my next game. Will be tough. I mean, Madison play here last year the final. She’s the local player. Well, will be tough. She know how to play. She has experience on this tournament. For sure for me, well, will be tough.”
“I tried to play aggressive, tried to be focus on my game. Sometimes is difficult when you go on this amazing court for the first time. Try to play aggressive, try to be solid sometimes because she hit fast the ball. I have to run and fight.
“But I think I made a really complete match from the beginning until the end. I’m happy with the way I play tonight.”
Up next for the Spaniard will be last year’s finalist Madison Keys, who beat Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 6-3.
“Madison play so aggressive,” said Suarez Navarro. “She serve really good. She has a really good forehand. For me is tough. When I play against people who play really fast, for me it’s tough.
“But I have to be ready. I think I’m ready.”
The Spaniard’s last quarterfinal at the US Open came in 2013, when she lost to Serena Williams, the eventual champion.
More to follow…