Maria Sharapova was sent tumbling out of the US Open as Anastasija Sevastova produced a display of clinical efficiency to come from behind for a 5-7 6-4 6-2 fourth-round victory.
Sharapova’s first appearance at a grand slam since returning from a doping ban lasted just four matches, Sevastova proving the more composed under pressure to reach the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows for the second year in succession on Sunday.
The five-time major champion’s campaign began with an impressive victory over second seed and contender for the title Simona Halep, but copious errors proved costly against Sevastova – seeded 16th.
Sharapova took a comfort break after the Latvian forced a decider and surrendered her serve twice in succession to lose the chance to win her second US Open title.
The Russian gave an early indicator of her desire when she won a gutsy point after rushing back and changing hands to return a cross-court volley with a lob in game three.
She took the first break with a backhand down the line but relinquished her advantage with a long forehand, however a sensational return clinched the opening set against Sevastova’s serve.
The Latvian moved clear after fending off a break point in game two and she was able to retain that for the remainder of the set, silly mistakes from Sharapova enabling her to force a third.
Sharapova changed her outfit but she was unable to halt Sevastova’s momentum, the sweetest of drop-shots positioning her for a 3-0 lead which a skewed hit from Sharapova gave her.
The former world number one reduced the deficit despite struggling with a blister on her finger and the 16th seed punished her, wrapping up the match at the fourth time of asking and setting up a last-eight clash with Sloane Stephens.
It will be the first time Stephens, who returned from an 11-month lay-off due to a foot injury at Wimbledon, has appeared in the last eight at a major since 2013, having beaten 30th seed Julia Goerges 6-3 3-6 6-1.