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Rediff.com  » Sports » US Open PHOTOS: Sharapova, Halep share spotlight; Wawrinka bristles

US Open PHOTOS: Sharapova, Halep share spotlight; Wawrinka bristles

Last updated on: August 28, 2014 13:42 IST

US Open: Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova of Russia returns a shot against Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty Images

Fifth seed Maria Sharapova averted an early exit on a sweltering day in Flushing Meadows.

The French Open champion and five-times Grand Slam winner lost the first set to 95th-ranked Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania, but bounced back to reach the third round with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory in warm breeze at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Sharapova looked in trouble after making a massive 22 unforced errors in losing the first set against Dulgheru, who had risen to a high ranking of 26 in 2011 before knee injuries set her back.

But the 2006 champion recovered.

Familiar formula

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova of Russia returns a shot against Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania. Photograph: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Sharapova broke in the sixth game of the second set to lead 4-2 and served out to claim the second set and start a run of five games in a row that took her to 4-0 in the third set and victory in the two hour 38 minute struggle.

It was a familiar formula for Sharapova, who leads the tour with 17 three-set victories this year.

"We started under the sun and finished under the lights. That's what you call the US Open, I guess," said Sharapova.

"I'm very happy I was able to come back and come through and win this match."

As for being able to win the long matches, the Russian said: "A lot of hard work. You have to put in the hours and the miles, I guess."

Beat heat

Simona Halep

Simona Halep of Romania serves. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

World No 2 Simona Halep of Romania beat the heat by hurrying past Jana Cepelova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-1 to reach the third round.

Halep, who overcame US college champion Danielle Collins in the opening round after losing a first-set tie-break, wasted little time as temperatures soared.

"I started to be more aggressive and hit the ball," said second seed Halep, the French Open runner-up. "I feel great now that I could win so fast today because it's so hot outside."

Johanna Larsson of Sweden, ranked 96th, sent another seed to the exits with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 upset of 21st-seeded American Sloane Stephens, a 2013 Australian Open semi-finalist.

Winning Wawrinka bristles

Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland

Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland returns a shot against Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil. Photograph: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Men's third seed Stanislas Wawrinka barked at fans before shouting for joy at his 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (1) win over Thomaz Bellucci.

After cruising through the opening two sets, Wawrinka had appeared set for a routine victory but the Swiss suddenly found himself in a titanic struggle with both the 95th-ranked Brazilian and some spectators.

In the third set, Bellucci charged 5-1 ahead to keep the match alive and then secured an early break in the fourth as a frustrated Wawrinka muttered to himself.

With the tension building and the score locked at 5-5 after the Swiss had broken back in the sixth game, Wawrinka's mumblings turned to open rage as he screamed at one heckler to "shut up man".

The Australian Open champion would, however, quickly regain his composure as the set moved to a tiebreak, which he dominated 7-1.

"I was trying to keep the focus you know when you drop your level against Bellucci, it is tough," Wawrinka said in a courtside interview. "He started to play better and it started to be a really tricky match.

"In the fourth set, I tried to focus more on my game. I was playing a little more aggressive at the end of the match and that is what made the difference."

Berdych, Dimitrov ease into second round

Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic

Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic celebrates after defeating Lleyton Hewitt of Australia. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty Images

Sixth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych dismissed 2001 champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 and seventh-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov eased to a 6-2, 7-6, 6-2 victory over local wild card Ryan Harrison.

Other men's seeds advancing included Ernests Gulbis of Latvia (11), Marin Cilic of Croatia (14), South African Kevin Anderson (18) and Feliciano Lopez of Spain (19).

Cilic and Lopez advanced in abbreviated fashion. Cilic was leading 6-3, 3-1 when Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus retired with an ankle injury, while Lopez was at 1-1 in the fifth set when Croat Ivan Dodig could no longer continue due to cramp.

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