| GEO Sports|
| Sharapova, Safina cruises to US Open second round|
| Updated at: 1005 PST, Wednesday, September 02, 2009|
NEW YORK: Former world No.1 Maria Sharapova advanced to the second round of the US Open by defeating Bulgaria's 98th-ranked Tsvetana Pironkova 6-3 6-0 in 73 minutes.
Sharapova, the 2006 US Open winner, is coming back after a right shoulder injury that kept her from playing in last year's US Open.
The 29th-seeded Russian will next face US wild card Christina McHale, who ousted Slovenia's Polona Hercog 6-3 6-1.
Top-ranked Dinara Safina avoided becoming the first top-seeded woman ever to lose her opening match at the U.S. Open, rallying to defeat Olivia Rogowska of Australia in three sets.
Safina committed 11 double faults and 48 unforced errors against the 18-year-old Rogowska, a wild-card entry who's ranked 167th in the world.
A major upset looked to be in the offing as Rogowska took a 4-2 lead in the deciding set. But Safina reeled off four straight games to win 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-4 in just over two and a half hours and remain in the running for her first major title.