World No. 2 Simona Halep has never beaten Maria Sharapova, but their first round matchup in the 2017 US Open seemed destined to change that. It didn’t, and Halep might be forgiven for expressing a little anger at her fate. She drew the 146th ranked Sharapova in the first round — unlucky because Sharapova obviously shouldn’t be ranked behind 145 other women’s tennis players, even at age 30 and returning from a drug suspension. Sharapova showed some reasons for her low ranking, committing 64 errors, but she also showed the grit of a five-time major champion used to the spotlight.
Halep’s reasons for anger — beyond the unlucky draw — could have included Sharapova’s six-minute bathroom break to regroup in the middle of the match. Such a break is legally allowed, but isn’t considered great sportsmanship. Still, Halep was gracious after her defeat, demonstrating real class despite ample opportunity to give in to frustration. Halep said after the match: “I’m sad losing this match, but I think I gave everything I had. She was better. It was a tough one for the first round, for sure. But this is the draw. I cannot say anything else.” She could have said more, actually. But she didn’t.