Maria Sharapova battled back from a set down to claim victory in her second round US Open match against Hungary’s Timea Babos.
Following her stunning win over world number two Simona Halep in her first Grand Slam appearance after her return from a doping ban, Sharapova was also made to work hard to overcome Babos in Wednesday’s second round encounter at Flushing Meadows.
The Russian eventually prevailed 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-1, recovering from losing the first set by battling hard in the second before hitting her stride and easing through the third set.
“I knew I wanted to get it done and I did,” Sharapova said after the victory over the world number 59.
“I felt like it was a scrappy match but sometimes those days are the best, because you get through and give yourself another chance.
“In the second set I felt like I was physically fresh,” Sharapova added.
“That gave me a lot of confidence. I just wanted to be the fittest player out there in the end, and I was.”
Sharapova, currently ranked world number 146, came back from a 15-month doping ban in April, but is getting her first taste of Grand Slam tennis at the US Open since her return, having missed Wimbledon through injury and been denied a wildcard to the French Open.
The Russian, 30, was given a wildcard for the main draw in New York, and has generally received a warm welcome from fans – which she remarked on after Wednesday’s win.
“I’ve had an amazing reaction from fans since I’ve been back, and that’s been very special,” said Sharapova, who won the US Open title in 2006 – one of her five Grand Slam triumphs.
She now faces 18-year-old wildcard Sofia Kenin in the third round, after the American beat compatriot Sachia Vickery in three sets in their second round encounter.
Elsewhere in the women’s singles draw, Russia’s Elena Makarova shocked fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki in three sets to set up a third round clash against Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro.
Fellow Russians Svetlana Kuznetsova, Evgeniya Rodina, Elena Vesnina and Daria Kasatkina will all be bidding to make the women’s singles third round when they play later on Thursday.