NEW YORK (AP) — Maria Sharapova made a winning return to the U.S. Open, overcoming a few wobbles with her serve tosses before taking the final 10 games to beat longtime friend Maria Kirilenko 6-4, 6-0 Monday night in the first round.
The fifth-seeded Sharapova, who missed the tournament last year because of an injured right shoulder, trailed 4-2 in the first set. She then took control in the matchup between 27-year-old Russians and didn’t drop another game.
Sharapova has had some trouble with her serves since getting hurt. Four times in a span of four points midway through the first set, she tossed the ball in the air, only to catch it instead of hitting it – a buzzing sound system, a plane flying overhead and a slight wind gust may have contributed.
Kirilenko had not played since Wimbledon. Once ranked in the top 10, she came into this match at No. 113 after a series of injuries.