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 on Monday.
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, the winner of five majors, missed last year's New York tournament with a season-ending shoulder injury.
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 hard 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.
But facing a player she has known since they were 12 years old is never an easy occasion even if Monday's clash was the eighth of their professional careers.
"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 (the two played doubles at the US Open in 2004).
"But when you go out on the court, it's always that fine line between, of course you want to be the winner, you have to face that person as a competitor, not someone that you've known for years and developed a friendship with. It's always a tricky balance, I guess."
Sharapova, the French Open champion, admitted that being forced to skip last year's New York Grand Slam had been hard to tolerate.
"It was tough missing this court last year," she said. "I didn't follow the tennis too much - it was a little too sad."
Sharapova later suggested that the rule over medical timeouts - which many believe is just a tool to break the winning momentum of an opponent - should be tightened up, only half-jokingly hinting at charging for using the system.
"I'd probably start charging for medical timeouts. I think we'd all see who really uses them and who doesn't. Yeah, I don't know what we put on it, maybe like 2,500 (dollars) or something. Yeah, I think we should do that. That would be fun."
One spectator who was having fun during the first, typically boisterous night session of the fortnight was US actor Alec Baldwin who confidently pouched a shank off the Kirilenko racquet before tossing the ball back.
But Sharapova, as single-minded as ever, hardly noticed.
"I had no idea," she admitted.Results on Monday from the first day of the US Open, the final Grand Slam tournament of the season (x denotes seeded player):
Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 6-1, 6-2, 6-4
Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) bt Gilles Muller (LUX) 6-7 (7/9), 7-5, 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (5/7), 6-1
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER x22) bt Facundo Bagnis (ARG) 6-2, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3
Michael Llodra (FRA) bt Daniel Gimeno (ESP) 6-4, 6-3, 7-5
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x9) bt Juan Monaco (ARG) 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-1
Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ) bt James McGee (IRL) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (7/3)
Pablo Carreno-Busta (ESP) bt Andreas Beck (GER) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/0)
Benoit Paire (FRA) bt Julien Benneteau (FRA x24) 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Fernando Verdasco (ESP x31) bt Blaz Rola (SLO) 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, 1-6, 6-4
Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) bt Bradley Klahn (USA) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
Matthias Bachinger (GER) bt Radek Stepanek (CZE) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
Andy Murray (GBR x8) bt Robin Haase (NED) 6-3, 7-6 (8/6), 1-6, 7-5
Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI x3) bt Jiri Vesely (CZE) 6-2, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/3)
Thomaz Belluci (BRA) bt Nicolas Mahut (FRA) 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 6-1
Blaz Kavcic (SLO) bt Donald Young (USA) 7-5, 6-4, 6-4
Jeremy Chardy (FRA x30) bt Alejandro Falla (COL) 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 7-5, 6-4
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) bt Mikhail Youzhny (RUS x21) 7-5, 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 7-6 (7/1)
Andreas Seppi (ITA) bt Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 6-3, 6-1, 6-4
Simone Bolelli (ITA) bt Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Tommy Robredo (ESP x16) bt Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 6-4, 6-3, 6-4
Matthew Ebden (AUS) bt Tobias Kamke (GER) 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7/2)
Leonardo Mayer (ARG x23) bt Albert Montanes (ESP) 6-2, 3-0 - retired
Peter Gojowczyk (GER) bt Benjamin Becker (GER) 6-2, 6-4, 6-2
Milos Raonic (CAN x5) bt Taro Daniel (JPN) 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7/1)
Angelique Kerber (GER x6) bt Ksenia Pervak (RUS) 6-2, 3-6, 7-5
Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) bt Duan Ying-Ying (CHN) 2-6, 6-2, 6-4
Belinda Bencic (SUI) bt Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 6-3, 6-2
Kurumi Nara (JPN x31) bt Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) 6-2, 6-1
Sloane Stephens (USA x21) bt Annika Beck (GER) 6-0, 6-3
Johanna Larsson (SWE) bt Virginie Razzano (FRA) 6-0, 6-0
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) bt Karin Knapp (ITA) 6-4, 6-3
Jelena Jankovic (SRB x9) bt Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) 6-2, 6-3
Lucie Safarova (CZE x14) bt Timea Babos (HUN) 6-4, 7-5
Zheng Saisai (CHN) bt Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 1-6, 6-2, 6-2
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) bt Romina Oprandi (SUI) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
Alize Cornet (FRA x22) bt Amandine Hesse (FRA) 6-1, 6-2
Roberta Vinci (ITA x28) bt Paula Ormaechea (ARG) 6-3, 6-3
Irina Begu (ROM) bt Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 7-6 (7/4), 6-3
Peng Shuai (CHN) bt Zheng Jie (CHN) 6-3, 6-3
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x4) bt Sharon Fichman (CAN) 6-1, 6-0
Maria Sharapova (RUS x5) bt Maria Kirilenko (RUS) 6-4, 6-0
Alexandra Dulgheru (ROM) bt Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 6-3, 6-4
Madison Brengle (USA) bt Julia Glushko (ISR) 6-3, 6-2
Sabine Lisicki (GER x26) bt Francoise Abanda (CAN) 6-3, 7-5
Andrea Petkovic (GER x18) bt Ons Jabeur (TUN) 7-6 (9/7), 1-6, 6-3
Monica Puig (PUR) bt Tereza Smitkova (CZE) 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) bt Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) 6-4, 6-3
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x10) bt Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 6-1, 3-6, 2-0 retired
Sara Errani (ITA x13) bt Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 6-1, 7-5
Anastasia Rodionova (AUS) bt Camila Giorgi (ITA) 1-6, 7-5, 6-3
Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) bt Kiki Bertens (NED) 6-7 (7/9), 4-3 retired
Venus Williams (USA x19) bt Kimiko Date Krumm (JPN) 2-6, 6-3, 6-3
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) bt Garbine Muguruza (ESP x25) 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)
Shahar Peer (ISR) bt Johanna Konta (GBR) 6-2, 6-3
Jana Cepelova (SVK) bt Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor (ESP) 2-6, 7-5, 6-1
Simona Halep (ROM x2) bt Danielle Collins (USA) 6-7 (2/7), 6-1, 6-2