NEW YORK — Playing her first match since a blowout loss to Serena Williams in the Olympics and a stomach virus that forced her out of two tournaments, Maria Sharapova returned to tennis in fine fashion Monday at the U.S. Open.
The third-seeded Russian came back from a three-week break and defeated Melinda Czink of Hungary 6-2, 6-2 in a stress-free, 67-minute first-round match at blustery Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Her victory in front of the half-filled stadium was her first match since a 6-0, 6-1 loss to Williams at the London Games in a gold-medal showdown that looked and felt more like one of these first-round wipeouts Sharapova usually inflicts.
Turns out, Sharapova was dealing with some stomach pain then, which only got worse a few weeks later. She went to the doctor for a series of tests, including an ultrasound to see if she was pregnant. The test turned up negative.
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"Just because of the pain I was having, it was really weird," Sharapova said. "They told me I was fine, not pregnant. Then, I'm like, 'Can I get my money back?'"
The routine win closed out a day session filled mostly with by-the-book results: Defending champion Sam Stosur's 6-1, 6-1 victory over Croatia's Petra Martic, and No. 3 Andy Murray's 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 win over Alex Bogomolov Jr. of Russia.
On the women's side, Kim Clijsters began the last tournament of her career by winning her 22nd consecutive U.S. Open match, beating 16-year-old American wild card Victoria Duval 6-3, 6-1. And top seed Victoria Awarenka rolled over Alexandra Panovs 6-0, 6-1.
Clijsters has won the U.S. Open the last three times she played in it — 2005, 2009 and 2010. She missed the tournament in 2011 because of an injured stomach muscle.
No. 1-ranked Roger Federer cruised past American Donald Young 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.