MARIA Sharapova has beaten American Sofia Kenin, 7-5, 6-2, on Friday (Saturday, Manila time) to reach the US Open round of 16.
Sharapova, who received a wild card to appear in her first Grand Slam event since serving a 15-month doping ban, struggled at times with the counterpunching, moonballing Kenin, who committed less than half of the Russian's 33 unforced errors.
But Sharapova eventually prevailed on power, ripping 36 winners to Kenin's six.
Sharapova next faces 16th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, who earlier downed Donna Vekic of Croatia, 6-2, 6-3.
Both the 18-year-old Kenin and the 30-year-old Sharapova received wild cards into the US Open.