NEW YORK (AP) - When Maria Sharapova's first Grand Slam match after a 15-month doping suspension ended with a victory at the U.S. Open, she dropped to her knees and covered her face, tears welling in her eyes.
Sharapova had not played at a Grand Slam Tournament since January 2016, when she tested positive for the newly banned heart drug meldonium during the Australian Open.
The draw at Flushing Meadows randomly paired the two players, providing a buzz-generating matchup that managed to live up to the hype on Day 1 at the year's last Grand Slam tournament.
The last match on Monday's schedule actually finished at 2:04 a.m. on Tuesday: After Sharapova won, the fourth-seeded man, Alexander Zverev, needed to get through an 80-minute first set before eventually beating 168th-ranked qualifier Darian King 7-6 (9), 7-5, 6-4.
These two women have, indeed, faced off with a Grand Slam title at stake: Sharapova beat Halep in the 2014 French Open final, part of what is now her 7-0 head-to-head record in the matchup.
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