Petra Kvitova's incredible story continued at the US Open as she claimed an emotional victory over the reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, who also happened to be the provisional world number one in the live rankings, in the fourth round of competition.
The Czech 13th seed fought back from 1-4 down in the first set to win 7-6 (7-3) 6-3. The 37-year-old Williams, who won the title in 2000 and 2001, got to the quarterfinals by beating Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
However, the Czech survived three break points in a tense sixth game to remain within touching distance at 4-1, and she brought it back on serve a game later when converting with her first break point.
Venus Williams, of the United States, returns a shot from Carla Suarez-Navarro, of Spain, during the fourth round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, in NY.
Muguruza was having a strong season, adding a Wimbledon championship as her second Grand Slam title after winning the French Open previous year. 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.
No. 16 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia ended Sharapova's return to Grand Slam tennis with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 victory to reach the quarterfinals for the second straight year. She hasn't reached three Slam finals in a year since 2002.
Kvitova's left hand might never recover fully from the injuries she sustained in the attack, but she has worked tirelessly on her rehabilitation and proved here that she has lost none of her wonderful timing or her competitive spirit.
Sharapova, the 2006 US Open victor, has already beaten Halep and Hungary's Timea Babos in her first Grand Slam since serving a 15-month doping ban after testing positive for the blood booster meldonium, at the 2016 Australian Open.
Cilic won the 2014 title at Flushing Meadows. After winning that game, Muguruza gained a little confidence and definitely gave Kvitova a hard time closing the match out.
Their fourth-round match under the roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium is the only one that will start before the afternoon.
The rain had slowed and was expected to stop Sunday afternoon. So although both players come into Tuesday's match with momentum, it is Williams who arrives with urgency. That half of the bracket, wide open because of injuries and upsets, will produce a first-time finalist in a Grand Slam tournament.
Despite her unfavorable record against Kvitova, Williams will surely appreciate her opponent's ejection of Muguruza, who convincingly beat Williams in July's Wimbledon final and who looked indomitable prior to Sunday. Later, Williams meets Maria Sakkari, and Muguruza plays No. 31 Magdalena Rybarikova.