Sharapova suffers US Open early exit

Third-seeded Maria Sharapova has become one of the biggest Week One casualties at the US Open after the Russian tennis queen lost to Flavia Pennetta of Italy in the third round.

­The 24-year-old saw her serve broken three times in the opening set, which went to Pennetta with a 6-3 scoreline.

The Siberian native did take the second set, also 6-3, but was unable to keep it going in the decider.

The Italian has sealed a hard-fought 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory, progressing into the fourth round.

Sharapova, who finished with 12 double faults and 60 unforced errors on the day, has not won a major title since the 2008 Australian Open.

“It’s disappointing to lose in the middle of nowhere, and even more disappointing to lose in New York,’’ Sharapova said afterwards. “Losing isn’t fun for anyone because we work to win. We don’t work to lose.’’

Meanwhile, Vera Zvonareva will continue flying the Russian flag in New York after beating Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-4, 7-5.

Sabine Lisicki of Germany is up next to play the 26-year-old.

Zvonareva thus stays on track to improve on her runner-up finish here last year.

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