New York: Former champion Maria Sharapova won the last 10 games to defeat former doubles partner and childhood friend Maria Kirilenko 6-4, 6-0 to reach the US Open second round Monday. (Also read:Seeded players feel the US Open heat right away)
Fifth seed Sharapova, the 2006 champion in New York, rallied from 2-4 down in the first set to take victory and set up a clash with Romania's Alexandra Dulgheru for a spot in the last 64.
The Russian superstar missed last year's tournament with a season-ending shoulder injury. (Andy Murray survives scare, reaches 2nd round)
But despite an early wobble against her former top 10 compatriot, the outcome was never in doubt once Kirilenko had required treatment on her troublesome left ankle.
"It's always tough to start a tournament, especially against a player like her who is a tough opponent," said Sharapova of Kirilenko who has now slipped out of the top 100.
"We have known each other since we were 12, hanging out in the locker room, on and off the court.
"She's been injured and it's great to have her back competing."