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US OPEN

Venus Williams reaches US Open quarterfinals; Maria Sharapova ousted

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Maria Sharapova’s return to the Grand Slam stage ended with a fourth-round exit at the US Open.

Associated Press 

NEW YORK — Venus Williams reached the US Open quarterfinals for the second time in three years with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory over Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain on Sunday.

The 37-year-old American is the oldest woman in the bracket. She owns seven Grand Slam titles, including two in New York in 2000 and 2001.

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The No. 9-seeded Williams is trying to get to her third Grand Slam final of the season. She lost to her younger sister Serena Williams at the Australian Open and to Garbine Muguruza at Wimbledon.

Williams will meet Petra Kvitova next at Flushing Meadows. Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon winner, eliminated No. 3 seed Garbine Muguruza, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.

Earlier Sunday, Maria Sharapova tried a bit of everything, even resorting to switching over her racket to hit a few lefty shots. Still, the five-time major champion could not quite keep her Grand Slam comeback from a doping suspension going, losing to 16th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, in the fourth round.

This was the third time in her four matches that Sharapova went the distance and she faded down the stretch, while also dealing with a right hand that was treated and taped by a trainer in the final set. Sharapova’s miscues kept closing exchanges, and she dropped 13 of the first 14 points in that set.

The 30-year-old Russian finished with 51 unforced errors, compared with 14 for Sevastova.

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‘‘Look, three-set matches are challenging. I love being part of them. There’s an element of concentration, focus, physicality that goes into all of it. And you have to put it all together. Yeah, you just have to get through it,’’ Sharapova said.

‘‘There’s no doubt that not playing those matches certainly cost me today.”

Sharapova hadn’t played in a major tournament since the Australian Open in January 2016, when she tested positive for the newly banned drug meldonium. She served a 15-month ban for that, returning to the tour this April with a ranking too low to get into Grand Slam events.

The French Open denied her a wild-card invitation, then she planned to try to qualify for Wimbledon before pulling out because of an injured left leg.

But she was able to enter the US Open thanks to a wild card from the US Tennis Association, which then proceeded to put its 2006 champion in Arthur Ashe Stadium every time she played over the past week, drawing strong support from spectators — and criticism from another former No. 1-ranked woman, Caroline Wozniacki.

Sevastova made Sharapova run a lot by pulling her forward with drop shots or tight angles, then would often deposit follow-up strokes into open spaces. On one point won by Sharapova in the second set, she twice tracked down lobs that she got back over the net by hitting the ball left-handed.

Sevastova advanced to the US Open quarterfinals for the second consecutive year. That’s where she will face unseeded American Sloane Stephens, who reached her first Open quarter by eliminating Julia Goerges, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.

Stephens has won 12 of her past 14 matches, a remarkable run for someone who was off the tour for 11 months because of foot surgery in January.

Muguruza, the reigning Wimbledon champion, jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the opening set and earned three break points for a chance to go up, 5-1, on the 13th-seeded Kvitova. But Kvitova managed to hold there.

This was the biggest victory of Kvitova’s return to competition after a knife attack by an intruder at her home in the Czech Republic in December. She needed surgery on her racket-holding hand and rejoined the tour at the French Open in May.

Kvitova’s only other trip to the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows came in 2015, when she lost at that stage to eventual champion Flavia Pennetta.

Earlier Sunday, 18-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov’s entertaining stay ended with a 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-3) loss to 12th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain.

Shapovalov was trying to become the youngest male quarterfinalist at Flushing Meadows since Andre Agassi in 1988, but he wasted a 5-2 lead and three set points in the opener, and finished with 55 unforced errors.

‘‘Honestly, it was so much fun to be part of that atmosphere and the match and this whole two weeks,’’ Shapovalov said. ‘‘You know, it’s another life-changing event for me.’’

Kevin Anderson is a US Open quarterfinalist for the second time in three years after the 28th-seeded South African eliminated Paolo Lorenzi, 6-4, 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4.

Lorenzi, who at 35 became the oldest player in the Open era to make his fourth-round Grand Slam debut, managed to break Anderson twice in 21 service games, something none of the big server’s other opponents managed to do during Week 1 of the tournament.

Anderson improved to 2-9 in fourth-rounders at majors.

Carreno Busta is the highest-seeded player left on his side of the draw and faces No. 29 Diego Schwartzman of Argentina next.

Schwartzman, from Argentina, beat 16th-seeded Lucas Pouille of France, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5, 2-6, 6-2, in his first career fourth-round match in a major. The 5-foot-7-inch Schwartzman is the shortest quarterfinalist at Grand Slam tournament since Jaime Yzaga, also 5-7, at the 1994 US Open, according to the ATP.

In the other men’s fourth-round matche late Sunday, No. 17 Sam Querrey, the only American man left, faced No. 23 Mischa Zverev of Germany.