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

Five-time Major winner Maria Sharapova Photo: Marianne Bevis

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

Maria Sharapova

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.”

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