Maria Sharapova survived an early scare at the US Open after Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova had been knocked out of the year's final Grand Slam, which began on time and in perfect conditions after a week of wild weather in New York.
It was business as usual at the National Tennis Center in Queens as the earthquake that rattled the US East Coast last week and the deadly hurricane that killed at least 21 people were momentarily forgotten.
As a former champion and a sweetheart of the New York crowds, Sharapova was given the honor of being one of the first players on Arthur Ashe center court and, as expected, the Russian made it through to the next round.
But her 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over British teenager Heather Watson was an unconvincing performance from the former world No. 1.
Czech Kvitova, the fifth seed, left the Louis Armstrong court almost sobbing after falling 7-6, 6-3 to unseeded Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru.
Her early exit has further opened up a women's draw which was already looming as one of the most unpredictable in years.
Vera Zvonareva, world No. 2, made a bright start, thumping Stephanie Foretz Gacon of France 6-3 6-0 while Venus Williams beat Vesna Dolonts of Russia 6-4, 6-3 in the first of the two night matches.
Switzerland's five-time champion Roger Federer, the third seed, easily won his first round match against Colombia's Santiago Giraldo 6-4 6-3 6-2.
Federer's win was his 224th in Slams, moving him to equal second with Andre Agassi. Jimmy Connors holds the all-time record for men with 233 wins, a record Federer should pass next year.
Fish in fine form
Mardy Fish, playing his first Grand Slam as the top-ranked American, opened the action at the Arthur Ashe stadium, where he beat Germany's Tobias Kamke 6-2, 6-2, 6-1.
Colombian Alejandro Falla, ranked 119th in the world, survived three match points to topple 15th-seeded Serbian Viktor Troicki 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5.