NEW YORK — Maria Sharapova’s stomach ache turned out to be nothing more than that.
That lopsided loss she suffered at the Olympics — well, that may have only been a false alarm, as well.
Playing her first match since a blowout loss to Serena Williams in London and a stomach virus forced her out of two tuneup tournaments, Sharapova returned to tennis in fine fashion Monday at the U.S. Open.
The third-seeded Russian came back from a three-week break and defeated Melinda Czink of Hungary, 6-2, 6-2, in a stress-free, 67-minute first-round match at blustery Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Later, top-seeded Roger Federer took center stage and beat American Donald Young, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, to begin the chase for his 18th major title.
Sharapova completed the career Grand Slam earlier this year by winning the French Open. Monday’s victory, in front of the half-filled stadium, was her first match since a 6-0, 6-1 loss to Williams at the London Games in a gold-medal showdown that looked more like one of these first-round wipeouts Sharapova usually inflicts.
The routine win was part of a day filled mostly with by-the-book results: Defending champion Sam Stosur’s 6-1, 6-1 victory over Croatia’s Petra Martic, No. 3 Andy Murray’s 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 win over Alex Bogomolov Jr., of Russia and No. 23 Kim Clijsters extending her Flushing Meadows winning streak to 22 straight matches, defeating the youngest player in the field, 16-year-old American Victoria Duval, 6-3, 6-1.
And, of course, there was a two-hour rain delay at a tournament that has finished on a Monday for four straight years because of bad weather.