Tennis - No pals act as Sharapova beats hobbling Kirilenko

AFP
Tennis - No pals act as Sharapova beats hobbling Kirilenko
Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates her win over Maria Kirilenko of Russia during their US Open 2014 women's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center August 25, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Don Emmert (AFP Photo/DON EMMERT)

- 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.

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.

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."


AFP