Maria Sharapova may have been playing her first major tournament in 18 months on Monday, but she looked as powerful as ever in securing a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 first-round victory over No. 2 seed Romanian Simona Halep at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

US Open Day 1 recap, Round 2 preview

The 30-year-old Russian was granted a wild-card entry into the 2017 U.S. Open after she returned from a 15-month doping suspension in April. Sharapova received the ban for testing positive for the prohibited heart drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open. She later claimed that the positive test occurred because of a miscommunication as a result of the drug being added to the World Tennis Association’s banned substances list earlier in 2016.

Halep — who has now lost all seven matches against Sharapova — struggled with her first serve and couldn’t handle her Russian opponent’s incredible display of power.

During the first set alone, Sharapova — the World No. 146 and a five-time major champion — recorded 18 forehand winners and ten backhand winners.

In the final set, Sharapova again took advantage of Halep’s weak second serve.

Sharapova has suffered from several different injuries since her return from her doping ban, including a forearm injury last month that forced her to withdraw from the Bank of the West Classic after just one match, but seemed in fine shape on Monday.

The Russian — who won the U.S. Open in 2006 — will next face Hungarian Tímea Babos in the second round in Flushing on Wednesday. Babos defeated Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic on Monday.

Meanwhile, No. 9 seed Venus Williams also reached the second round by defeating 19-year-old Slovakian qualifier Viktoria Kuzmova 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 on Monday.

Williams — who  helped inaugurate Ashe, reaching the first women’s final played in the venue in 1997 — has now won 50 three-set matches over her 22-year Grand Slam career, tied with Chris Evert for second most by a woman in the Open era.

“It’s been a beautiful 20 years,” said the 37-year-old American. “I love this game.”

Williams will next face 20-year-old French qualifier Océane Dodin in Round 2 on Wednesday at 11 am EST. Dodin advanced by beating countrywoman Pauline Parmentier 3-6, 6-0, 7(8)-6(6) on Monday.

On the men’s side, 17th ranked American Sam Querrey will face Israel’s Dudi Sela on Wednesday at 11 am EST following the cancellation of his first-round match against compatriot Tim Smyczek.

American Steve Johnson will face Britain’s Kyle Edmund, while fourth-seeded German 20-year-old Alexander Zverev will play Croatian Borna Ćorić after a first-round victory over Barbardian Darian King. 

Here is the TV schedule for Round 2 on Wednesday:

Wed. 8/30
12AM – 8AM
US Open Tonight
Tennis Channel
8AM – 11AM
Tennis Channel Live at the US Open
Tennis Channel
11AM – 1PM
Second Round
1PM – 6PM
Second Round
6PM – 11PM
Primetime at the US Open: Second Round
11PM – 12AM
US Open Daily
Tennis Channel

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 27: Maria Sharapova of Russia in action during a practice session prior to the US Open Tennis Championships at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 27, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

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