US Open 2014: Maria Sharapova wary of ‘dangerous’ Maria Kirilenko
US Open 2014: Maria Sharapova isn't taking the threat posed by Maria Kirilenko lightly ahead of first-round match
Maria Sharapova says she won’t be taking the threat posed by her first-round US Open opponent Maria Kirilenko lightly despite her compatriot’s recent absence.
The five-time Major champion is bidding to win her second US Open crown after beating Justine Henin-Hardene in the Flushing Meadows final in 2006.
It’s also an opportunity for someone like that to come in and have no expectations because they haven’t really played a match and to go out and swing away
Kirilenko is a former top-10 player but the 27-year-old Russia, currently ranked 113, has endured an injury-plagued season.
And the French Open champion Sharapova acknowledged that Kirilenko has the potential to be a very awkward first-round opponent.
“She hasn’t played in a while. That’s what I know,” Sharapova said.
“But I also know we have had a lot of tough matches in the past. She’s a very dangerous opponent, someone that’s capable of playing really great tennis.
“She’s beaten me before in her career. Yeah, I’ll definitely have to be ready.”
Sharapova added: “You never know because I think it’s also an opportunity for someone like that to come in and have no expectations because they haven’t really played a match and to go out and swing away.
“Sometimes that’s a very dangerous opponent.”