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Sharapova makes quick work of 51st-ranked opponent

NEW YORK -- The lady in red shanked a backhand wide, prompting Maria Sharapova's opponent to leap in the air and pump her fist and smile as though she'd won the match -- or, indeed, the U.S. Open championship itself.

NEW YORK -- The lady in red shanked a backhand wide, prompting Maria Sharapova's opponent to leap in the air and pump her fist and smile as though she'd won the match -- or, indeed, the U.S. Open championship itself.

Uh, not quite. That little celebration by 51st-ranked Roberta Vinci of Italy was for winning one game Tuesday night, allowing her to narrow the dressed-for-success Sharapova's lead to 6-0, 5-1.

"I win one game, I'm happy," Vinci said. "6-love, 6-love? No. 6-love, 6-1? OK."

A few minutes and one hold of serve later, Sharapova's 50-minute day was done, and she was into the second round at the tournament where she produced her second Grand Slam title a year ago.

"There's no way to get rid of the memories when I walk on the court and feel the vibe," the second-seeded Russian said, 600 crystals on her red dress sparkling in the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights. "Every corner I turn here, I get goose bumps."

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Andy Roddick might very well have similar sentiments as he walks around the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. He did, after all, win the 2003 U.S. Open for his only major title, and he won his first-round match Tuesday night, following Sharapova on court and beating Justin Gimelstob 7-6 (8-6), 6-3, 6-3.

It was the 30-year-old Gimelstob's last match as a pro, and Roddick hugged him at the net afterward.

"We're going to miss one of the funniest guys on tour," Roddick said.

Sharapova, meanwhile, compiled 15 winners before Vinci hit her first and finished with a 30-3 edge in that category during the 6-0, 6-1 victory. It was part of a mini-parade of past champions in first-round action, including victories for Martina Hingis, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Lleyton Hewitt.

Hingis was willing to reminisce a bit after beating Mathilde Johansson of France 6-0, 6-3. Others winning Tuesday included a man many consider a likely future Grand Slam champion, No. 3-seeded Novak Djokovic, and No. 6 James Blake.

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