Maria Sharapovas unbeaten record in US Open night matches came to a halt on Tuesday evening as Carla Suarez Navarro pulled off a shock.
The former world No. 1 had won all 23 of her previous contests under the lights in New York – including her first three rounds this year – but she struggled to find her best form as she fell down to the Spaniard in straight sets.
Suarez Navarro, as ever, was a gritty customer – chasing down every ball and frustrating the out of sorts Russian at every opportunity to gift herself the perfect 30th birthday present.
And in denying the 2006 champion with a 6-4 6-3 win, she reached the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows for the second time.
Suarez Navarro – who boasts one of the few one-handed backhands on the WTA Tour – will take on Madison Keys after the 2017 runner-ups comprehensive 6-1 6-3 win over Dominika Cibulkova earlier on Monday.
The winner of that match will face one of Grand Slam quarter-finals debutants Lesia Tsurenko or Naomi Osaka as the bottom half of the draw was set.
For Sharapova, it will no doubt feel like an opportunity missed to progress through an open section of the draw but Suarez Navarro will now look to take full advantage.
The first set was compelling.
Sharapova got off to an awful start. She struggled on serve and hit five double faults on her way to falling 4-1 down – three of those came in a row.
The pair then traded breaks, leaving the five-time Grand Slam champion a game away from a one-set deficit.
Suarez Navarro endured some nervy moments losing two games in a row before falling 0-30 down but regained her composure to fire her way in front.
Both struggled on serve at the beginning of the second, with the unforced errors continuing to flow, and Suarez Navarro double faulted to gift her break back to the 22nd seed.
Another break for the 30-year-old Spanish ace proved crucial and she ended Sharapovas remarkable nighttime record in New York.