NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/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.
Among the men Monday night, top-seeded Novak Djokovic breezed past a novice Diego Schwartzman, beating him 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in a match that finished a few minutes before midnight.
Djokovic was never in trouble against a 22-year-old opponent from Argentina playing in his first main draw at Flushing Meadows. Djokovic’s final shot hit the net, and popped over to clinch the win.
Djokovic is always popular at Arthur Ashe Stadium, and fans kept yelling out to him from the far reaches as the hour ran late.
Djokovic has made it to the U.S. Open final in each of the last four years. The 27-year-old from Serbia won the tournament in 2011.
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