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.

Turns out, Sharapova was dealing with some stomach pain then, which only got worse a few weeks later. She went to the doctor for a series of tests, including an ultrasound to see if she was pregnant. The test turned up negative.

"Just because of the pain I was having, it was really weird,'' said Sharapova, who is engaged to basketball player Sasha Vujacic. "They told me I was fine, not pregnant. Then, I'm like, `Can I get my money back?'''

It has been an eventful summer for one of tennis' biggest stars.

After serving as the flag-bearer for Russia, then finishing as the silver medalist at the Olympics at Wimbledon, Sharapova's original plan was to come to North America and play in tuneups in Montreal and Cincinnati to acclimate herself to the hard courts.

But the Olympics took a lot out of Sharapova, and when she arrived in Canada, she got knocked down by a stomach ache so bad that she went to the doctor.

It turned out to be a virus - her body's way of telling her to take it easy, she said, so she withdrew from the events and took a few weeks off.

"It was a nice break in a way, but after so many weeks of practicing, you're just eager to get back on the court,'' she said.

She looked eager to get off the court, as well, showing very few signs of rust against her 88th-ranked opponent.

Wearing a soft-pink dress with a touch of mauve - more subdued than what she usually wears for, say, a nighttime appearance - Sharapova served five aces and maxed out at 115 mph. It took her 31 minutes to finish the first set and she was up 3-0 in the second before Czink got her only break.

That made things only mildly interesting, and only for a very short time. Leading 4-2, Sharapova won one point by chasing a ball almost into the stands on the sidelines, reaching out to get it back, then closing in on the net to win the point. Czink stood there shaking her head, hardly believing what she had just seen.

Sharapova said getting the blowout loss to Williams out of her mind was not a problem.

"It doesn't stick with you,'' she said. "I mean, personally, I've been part of many different types of matches in my career. Looking back at that week, it was really special. It was so hectic.''

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