Sharapova downs Halep in return to U.S. Open

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Maria Sharapova made an impressive return to Grand Slam tennis, beating No. 2-seeded Simona Halep 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in the first round of the U.S. Open.

Sharapova received a wild card to play in her first major tournament since returning from a 15-month doping ban. And she made the most of it, ripping 60 winners to Halep’s 15 and wearing down the Romanian with punishing groundstrokes accented by loud grunts. She shrieked with joy when Halep hit a backhand long over the baseline to end the match.

Sharapova, whose five major titles include the 2006 U.S. Open, next faces 59th-ranked Timea Babos of Hungary, who defeated Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland 7-5, 5-7, 7-5.