Maria Sharapova moves into US Open 3rd round, where she will meet Beatrice Capra

Maria Sharapova is a former US Open champ who seems to enjoy the bright lights of New York. Maria Sharapova is about to play an up-and-coming phenom in 18 year-old Beatrice Capra Saturday in the tournament's third round.

Ray Stubblebine/Reuters
Maria Sharapova of Russia returns a volley to Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 2.

Not that long ago, Maria Sharapova was one of the fresh faces on the women's professional tennis circuit. Now, three-quarters of the way to a career Grand Slam, Sharapova finds herself an upset target of up-and-coming players on tour.

The 14th-seeded Sharapova defeated Iveta Benesova, 6-1, 6-2, Thursday night. Next up for the 2006 US Open ladies champ will be 18 year-old Beatrice Capra, who had to win a playoff just to get into the Open.

Capra, who trains at the Evert Academy in Florida, upset 18th seed Aravane Rezai of France, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, on Thursday to advance. Capra looks at Sharapova as a role model. "I know she's just such a tough competitor," she told the Associated Press. "You know, when I was younger, I used to always look up to her, and so I think it will be a really good match for me to see where I am compared to that kind of level."

It should be a fun match to watch. The US Open continues during the Labor Day weekend and will conclude on Sept. 12th.

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