NEW YORK (Reuters) - Women’s tennis’s biggest names still remaining at the U.S. Open take centre stage on Sunday with grand slam winners Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams, Garbine Muguruza and Petra Kvitova all appearing on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Even with forecasters predicting rain, the show will go on under the retractable roof with Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov and Spanish 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta providing the opening act before three successive women’s matches.
Despite criticism, Sharapova will be back on Arthur Ashe for her fourth successive match where she will face Latvian 16th seed Anastasija Sevastova for a spot in the quarter-finals
Playing her first grand slam since returning from a 15-month doping ban, Sharapova has enjoyed wild fan support every time she steps on to the court but not everyone is happy to see the five-time winner back.
Fifth seeded Caroline Wozniacki criticised U.S. Open organisers for putting her on an outside court in her second round loss while Sharapova soaked up the applause on Arthur Ashe.
One of the biggest draws in tennis, Sharapova has played to sellout crowds of 23,771 every match and the Russian wildcard has been unapologetic, delivering Wozniacki a stinging rebuke.
“I‘m in the fourth round. I‘m not sure where she (Wozniacki) is,” shot back Sharapova, adding she would be happy to play in parking lot if that is where she was scheduled.
The most intriguing clash, however, may be the last of the women’s matches with Wimbledon champion and third seed Muguruza facing double Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova.
The 13th seeded Czech is continuing to make her way back from a career-threatening hand injury sustained when she was stabbed in the hand by an intruder in her home last year.
Ninth seeded Williams, a twice U.S. Open champion and a crowd favourite for almost two decades, takes on Spanish veteran Carla Suarez Navarro in the final women’s match on the main showcourt.
Sam Querrey, the last American hope in the men’s draw, then wraps up singles action on the main court when he plays German 23rd seed Mischa Zverev.
Editing by Greg Stutchbury