New York: Former US Open champion Maria Sharapova of Russia won the last 10 games to defeat her former doubles partner and childhood friend Maria Kirilenko 6-4, 6-0 to reach the second round at Flushing Meadows here on Monday.
Russian Maria Sharapova
Fifth seed Sharapova, the 2006 champion in New York, rallied from 2-4 down in the first set to take victory. However, 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 which bothered her thereafter.
"It's always hard to start a tournament, especially against a player like her who is a tough opponent," said Sharapova. But facing a player she has known since they were 12 years old is never an easy occasion even.
"We spent a lot of time in the juniors away from the courts practicing a lot together, competing against each other. We certainly have a big history."